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Home > News > 2019 > April > What makes a great mentor?

What makes a great mentor?

Mentoring connections, whether formal or informal, can be some of the most important support networks for early career teachers.

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Often, mentoring is conflated with induction practices.

Quality mentoring should be an ongoing means of support to guide teachers in their career development.

Researchers have defined mentoring as “an asymmetrical but collaborative relationship, which facilitates exchange and the generation of ideas and may lead to change and innovations…”

The role of a mentor is to “provide opportunities for growth and development”.

In this framework, elements of good mentoring include:

  • Reserving quality time for mentors and mentees to meet;
  • Creating a shared purpose for both participants through goal setting;
  • Providing a means of support to navigate accreditation processes and other systemic structures;
  • Organising designated activities such as observing lessons, unit planning, role swapping, shared teaching or creating resources to support the mentee in developing these skills; and
  • Building a confidential, open, reflecting and ongoing mentoring partnership.

Mentoring is particularly important for Australian beginning teachers who face an attrition rate as high as 50% in their first five years in the profession.

How our union is supporting early career teachers

Mentoring arrangements in schools vary across the non-government sector.

Reports from members suggest that mentoring programs in some schools are more comprehensive than others.

Our union has launched a pilot mentoring program this year to help connect early career teachers with experienced teachers in our sector.

The program, which is currently available to members located in South East Queensland, supports mentor and mentee pairs to meet once per term at union facilities.

Mentors have received training on best-practice methods to support early career teachers through the varied professional issues they face.

Program Coordinator and IEUA-QNT Research Officer Adele Schmidt said the sharing of knowledge by experienced staff was foundational in a collegiate profession like teaching.

“Unfortunately, feedback from members tells us that schools do not always provide effective mentoring arrangements for beginning teachers.

“Our union’s program is not intended to replace employer-led mentoring arrangements in schools, but rather it seeks to provide quality mentoring experiences to teachers who would otherwise not have access.”

Our union will be seeking to expand the mentoring program next year following evaluation of the pilot program.

Register now for quality professional development.

A range of quality professional development opportunities are available for early career teachers in the July school holidays.

BRISBANE

1 July 2019

10:00am – 12 noon - Digital Pedagogies for Learning

1:00pm – 3:00pm - Supporting Students’ Diverse Learning Needs

2 July 2019

10:00am – 3:00 pm - Kickstart Your Teaching Career in the Non-Government Sector

3 July 2019

10:00am – 12 noon - Curriculum Ready: Implementing the New Art and Science  of Teaching

1:00pm – 3:00pm - Reclaiming Schools as Spaces of Hope for Students from Asylum Seeking and Refugee Backgrounds

TOOWOOMBA

3 July 2019

10:00am – 12 noon - Inclusive Education Practices (Gifted and Learning Support)

1:00 – 3:00 pm - Relationship Building Strategies for Teachers

GOLD COAST

5 July 2019

10:00am – 12 noon - Ready? It’s elevator pitch time!

1:00pm – 3:00 pm - Supporting Students’ Diverse Learning Needs

Register for any of these workshops at http://ieuaqnt.eventbrite.com/

Online PD

Access quality PD anytime, anywhere by taking advantage of your Teacher Learning Network (TLN) membership. 

It’s free for IEUA-QNT teacher members in their first five years!

Find out more and register for upcoming sessions at www.qieu.asn.au/tln


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.