Having a strong mentor can really set up you up for success as a teacher. I was fortunate to have one in my first two years of teaching, especially being able to teach alongside them in my first year of teaching. Being able to observe teaching in practice as well as reflect while in the moment enabled me to feel more confident within my second year of teaching, especially when we worked in different areas of the school.
My mentor inspired me to take the opportunity to apply to be an AUT mentor this year and while I am in a different year level, I think continuing to learn alongside the kids allows my practice to be more transparent to someone who is observing me.
One thing I have struggled with so far is what is the difference between being a mentor and being a coach. As with any new learning, I try to understand the definition first to help me then work out my next steps.
Mentor - an experienced and trusted adviser, a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
Coach - a person who trains an athlete or a team of athletes, a private tutor who prepares a student for an examination, a person who instructs an actor or singer.
From that, my baseline understanding is that you can be coached for an end result (ie, finishing your teaching qualifications), however a mentor is someone who works alongside you rather than instructing you on your next step.
The word trust really stands out for me and this is something that I have been working with being open about my practice. The conversations have been great as it helps me reflect on why I chose to teach something in a different way and I am finding it beneficial having another set of eyes in the space to pick up on things that I might have missed.
Next Steps: Continue to have these reflective conversations about our practice, shift more of the control over and observe.