3 My mentor was this little chap, always there in the background fighting my corner and my demons. I felt secure in my subject knowledge but it also separated me from my students. These are the spaces I hoped to take the students through…..an optimism if I was able to connect with students.
4 What constitutes a successful placement ? - trainee perspective Trainee S : Skills for Life It would be nice to feel that holding you up to help you through it are people who understand why you are there and are willing to help you. …….I think having been mentorless - that’s the one thing that I found. My deepest concern was that I didn’t ever feel part of what was going on and supported.
5 A successful placement At the centre of any placement is knowing where a photocopier is that works I need to be prepared to jump in and take a chance. You’ve got to be bold and have the confidence to dive in. Incremental challenges. Given the opportunity to say, right, I’m ready for this,.
6 Trainees and their mentors (diary entry) My mentor is actually Lord Lucan. I’m lucky to find him and when I do he’s always so busy that I get the impression that he forgot he was supposed to meet me until I’m there…. I bet I could probably be here for the rest of the year and he wouldn’t chase up my progress because he won’t remember who I am. I can understand from his point of view that I’m probably just an unwanted inconvenience. A week later …. Ohhh, I was so close! I thought it was so close I could taste it. In I went on Wednesday morning to the faculty office, hoping to find my mentor, hoping he’d sorted out my timetable. Alas, he wasn’t there, and hasn’t been all week. He’s on sick now. I mean I know I can be a nuisance at times but I didn’t think I had that effect on people.
7 Filling gaps “I think that boundary isn’t set and it moves – sometimes when it’s helpful, like when people ask us to cover, we become staff and at other times, when we’re asking for things, saying, ‘could we sort this out?’ it goes back to that student mode.”
8 Staff room experience : Trainee A – Early Years It's really good. You've got like space to breathe and everybody's friendly...and very cooperative... I've been sort of given a desk and a computer……I mean I know what I'm here for but I forget that I’m here from University....I actually feel as if I work here. It feels fantastic...absolutely brilliant. It’s amazing you know.......... and I can't actually describe how I feel to teach..it's so brilliant and the whole process of placement I am really, thoroughly enjoying.
9 Staffroom experience : Trainee M – Health and Social Care Well first of all we went into the department, the manager wasn’t there so it was a case of everyone looking up and staring at you and the first greeting was ‘Bring your own tea, you bring your own coffee. You don’t touch anyone else’s. You can’t sit anywhere that’s anyone else’s seat you won’t have a seat of your own’… Trainees A and M were in the same college, in the same department, in the same staffroom.
10 Learning to teach “My own uncertainties to do with like planning, classroom issues are not stuff I can ever see being resolved during this period because there just isn't that room for ‘let’s sit down and what issues are you having this week?” “My developmental curve is being judged by: nothing terrible’s happened. Whether that means I’m doing it right – nobody’s had a riot in my classroom, nobody’s said to me you’re absolutely awful. That is my only measuring stick.”
11 Mentor account…. “They might be minutiae to us - desks and chairs and computers, but if you’re a student, to me, you should have a place and feel as if you belong to the college and I think that’s where we fall down. … We take on students and they do work for us they’re jolly useful really to us and I think sometimes if they don’t have a base and they’re scrabbling round for a table it might seem like minutiae but it isn’t, it’s horrible …but it’s difficult in crowded staffrooms. … These are all things that make people feel comfortable with the job they’re going to do and feel a part of it and I really believe they’re important.”
12 Mentor …. “I think it’s really good to try and help somebody to start on the first steps of their career……… and if at the end of this placement he goes on to be a really good teacher then I think we can feel proud of that. I think if you’re part of the moulding process I think that is really a nice thing to be able to do ……”
13 Mentor…. “I think it’s important to say that although perhaps you are having to give some of your time up I think people need to realise that you can gain as much as the student can….. just in fresh ideas, fresh opinions.”
14 Mentor…. “You can become blasé in what you do and when you’re mentoring someone that new you tend to reflect on the practice that you’re using and see if they are up to scratch really… because people coming in with new ideas that they’ve brought from university is great cos you can use them. So it really is a good tool for reflecting and changing if you like.”
15 Mentor…. “Main problem is time. Cos I can remember being a student teacher and you always feel as if you’re putting on people or you’re taking up their time and the last thing you want is for people to feel like that..but it is difficult sometimes when you’re teaching to find that time for them.”
16 What have you learned yourself from being a mentor? “You forget how hard it was when you first started. …. you tend to think why can’t they do x.y.z because you’ve done it for so many years you don’t even think about it and it’s quite good to remember just how steep that learning curve is. It’s sometimes nice to get new ideas ….. somebody fresh, somebody young… also he came with a practical from work experience when he was working and we thought, that’s really good, and we’ll incorporate it. It’s not something we would have done otherwise.”
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