Progression in teaching: mentors for trainee teachers

Jemma--Mentoring--News-hub Jemma Clark shares her experience of mentoring early career teachers

Teach Portsmouth's recent webinar on career progression in teaching gave those watching an idea of the professional development opportunities available for trainees and qualified teachers.

We welcome back Jemma Clark, head teacher at Southsea Infant School, who appeared as a contributor in our webinar. In this article, Jemma tells us about the role of a mentor for early career teachers and what it entails.

Thanks for joining us, Jemma. Could you tell us about your role?

I am the head teacher of a small infant school in Portsmouth.

I undertook this role in January last year after 10 years of educational teaching and leadership within the city.

Can you tell us a little bit about the role of a mentor for trainee teachers and what it involves?

The role involves supporting trainee teachers to develop their skills and understanding about what it really takes to be an effective classroom teacher.

Whilst there is paperwork and assessments to complete as part of the role, some of the most beneficial work as a mentor is done in the day-to-day conversations you have with the trainee. This can involve supporting them to navigate areas such as time management, behaviour management, planning and parental engagement.

How do you become a mentor for trainee teachers?

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for trainee teachers, you can discuss this with your line manager during the performance management process. Explain how you would like to progress in your career and make a wider impact.

Be clear and consistent about your own class teaching and how this could benefit others.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

Being a mentor for trainee teachers allows you to make a wider impact outside of your classroom; by training others you are making a difference on a larger scale.

It also allows you to reflect deeply on your own teaching practice and unpick the elements that work and why. Once you understand this, it can make it easier to help others through the process.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is considering becoming a mentor for trainee teachers?

Be prepared to dedicate your time to your trainee and be willing to give over control; the only way people learn is by doing!

Are you considering your next step in teaching?

If you missed Teach Portsmouth's webinar on career progression in teaching, you can watch it again on our website.

Hear from Portsmouth-based teachers who share their experiences of progressing into senior roles in early years and secondary settings.

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