What do you want from a mentor? As a mentor, what do you want from your mentees? These two expectations don’t always meet in the middle and it can be a cause of professional friction when that happens.
I recently wrote a post that tried to look at the relationship from both sides: From Mentee to Mentor and back again – a teacher’s tale. Thinking on this further, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint what I want out of this arrangement. I think it is important that every teacher have the opportunity to voice concerns to their DoS or manager, but equally, they shouldn’t be forced to… I suspect that what most teachers really want is to be left alone to get on with it as they think best.
From the DoS’s point of view though, it’s better to have the information before it becomes a problem, not afterwards. And leaving teachers to just get on with it can have mixed results…
Hence the existing system of mentor meetings, which I describe in detail in the earlier post.
When I was on the mentoring side, what I really wanted to know was (a) are you happy? (b) are your students happy? (c) what can we help with?. What I asked was more often bureaucratic in nature and dealt with the details, rather than the broader picture. Getting teachers to talk through each and every class is quite useful as it does bring to mind students and issues that might not otherwise get mentioned, but it somehow seems a more administrative function and not quite what the word mentoring implies.
Now that I’m a mentee again, I think what I’d like to be asked most is “Fancy a beer?” But in all seriousness, I think those three questions probably cover it!
So – a poll! I’ve put my suggestions in – feel free to vote for them or to add your own suggestions: