A newly-qualified NQT teacher is always paired with a mentor. For both it should be a valuable interim. Newbies get to try out their wings with the safety net of a teacher that’s been there and more than likely seen it all. For the mentor there’s the chance to kick the dust off their own practices and see how well they really translate for the newest generation of educators. Plus, they can see what the newest in education thinking looks like up-close and personal. Mentoring may not seem as critical as teaching, but when one measures the impact the new teacher will have it becomes obvious the job is life-changing and will impact scores of children for years to come. So, mentors should be prepared to get it right and to say what’s needed to be said, because there will be mishaps. Friendliness is fine and bolstering is too. After all, a lot of newly-qualifieds report not really feeling ‘real’ yet. The mentor is there to assure them they are indeed real. And when the year is up, while the wings are still drying it’s important that mentors stay in touch.
- Casual research suggests that many NQTs don’t feel ‘real’ while they are undergoing their first year.
- A mentor should be friendly, but should also be prepared to be firm and even take an NQT to task should it be warranted.
- When one thinks about the scores of schoolchildren that will be under the guidance of an NQT, one realizes mentoring is an important, powerful job.
“For the NQT, there is the comfort of years of experience to fall back on; for the mentor the process of running through their own effectiveness as a teacher; reflecting on what works and what doesn?t.”