Some nuggets from mentor training course attendees

 

               

                                      

 

Some nuggets from your reports

“I have a very strong feeling now, at the end of our course, that any concept, any bits and pieces of terminology can only be personalized, taken advantage of, debated, raised to a higher level and analysed in-depth supposing we teachers have a way to relate it to our growing insight and diverging experiences concerning experimenting with all those techniques we have touched upon during the course.”

“Professionalism in a mentorial and teaching probably means that, although you are aware of all layers of the iceberg, you are able to privilege the ones that serve your professional needs as a mentor and teacher and serve the professional needs of your mentee.”

“After my mentorial I could feel the relief that I had been aware of the mentor’s task and I would not be afraid of accepting a ‘real’ mentee to deal with. I know there is still a lot to learn but the field of mentoring is not a ‘black hole’ any more.”

“I must say that there has been a tangible improvement in my everyday teaching practice. If I may say anything like this: my SMART objectives are getting SMARTER.”

 “I know there are occasions when confronting is inevitable, but I am still not sure how I would be able to cope if I found myself in such a situation. I think being trusted with a ’bug’ and escorting  him or her on the way to becoming a ’butterfly’ is a very big responsibility.”

“For me the second part of the course seemed to centre around balance: the balance we need when using different intervention techniques during mentorials, the balance of being reassuring and supportive and being critical, the balance of agendas, the balance of things we stick to and things we give up, the balance between co-trainers and the balance we need to keep when coping with all our commitments.”

“One of the most remarkable messages of the course was not to be judgemental or make preconceptions, and to let the other person behave as it is natural by their personality. The number of role-plays we did during the course emphasised this for me. Some of the role-plays helped me understand what kind of reaction certain behaviours can trigger in the partner.”

 “As we observed more and more mentorials, and discussed more and more issues that came up during the mentorials, it made me realize that mentoring is just as much psychology as it is teaching. I find it strange now, that it was not obvious to me earlier, since it is about two people working together.”

“In my life, at first I learnt how to learn and get the most out of a subject matter; then I learnt how to teach what I had learnt; now I have to learn how to teach others to teach what they have learnt about the same subject matter. The changing of point of view makes one of the most interesting shifts I have ever experienced in my life.”

“I am still curious about being a mentor. I think I am an accepting person, yet, I fear that my tendency to supervise will make it difficult for me to adapt to the mentoring approach. I think being a good mentor will take a long time, I will have to deal with making mistakes and accepting the limited time and effort we can put into the mentoring process.”

“I like the idea that the task of a mentor is to help the trainee to become the best teacher they can be instead of trying to create countless mini versions of my teacher self, however there is one thing I find puzzling. What if the mentor thinks that the best possible teacher the trainee has the potential to become is still horrible?”

“According to a famous quotation: ‘You cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can always adjust your sails to always reach your destination.’[…] To follow the analogy, it seemed to me that the success of the “captain” manifests itself in his mere ability to “adjust the sails” properly on some challenging days. Now I know, this requires various other skills and expertise, expertise the basis of which might be learnt from books at university, but whose lion’s share should come from never ending practising and also the realisation that in order to become a “captain”, it is not enough to know how to use a “line” or how to “tie a rope”. Apart from all these, professional “captains” know just as much about the “currents of the oceans”, the “behaviour of the sea gulls” and the “signs of the different weather patterns.”

“Before being paired-up I was always a bit uneasy who was going to be my partner(s), especially when we discussed a deeper topic in which we had to be open with the other(s). I felt always lucky and relieved having perfect partners, then I realised that the group has developed in such a way that I could have talked to anyone happily.”

"I feel as if it was towards the last third of the course that I had fully ‘arrived’ and could therefore benefit the most from our sessions. To me, it meant a shift from learning together to thinking together…”

“The ideas that were the greatest inspiration for me were the theories of teacher development (although I am still frightened by the thought that I will not be able to develop further than the stage of competence, but I know I must always have some semi-phantom issues to worry about...) and the onion model of levels of change. The idea that in the centre of our ‘teacher-onions’ there is a mission which defines our whole identity, beliefs, competencies and behaviour struck me as surprising and inspiring at the same time. Now I believe more than ever that I should be not only a teacher, but an educator as well, responsible for the development of my students (and hopefully student teachers) as human beings as well.”