United Teaching Blog


How does mentoring work on a teacher training course?


The mentor-mentee relationship is a key part of our teacher training programme. Yassamin Sheel discusses this partnership and speaks to trainees and mentors from our northern schools about their experiences:


It has been an absolute pleasure visiting our trainees this academic year in their host schools. I admire them. I admire their grit and determination; they have the goal of becoming the best they can be.

They have the opportunity to receive weekly feedback to improve their practice and develop. It is best reflected when a trainee takes on board this developmental feedback provided by their mentor.

“Her feedback gives me the knowledge, skills and confidence to be the best teacher I can be”

Jasmine at Stockport Academy discusses her experiences of her teacher training so far:

"It is the end of my first term with United Teaching and, without hesitation, I can say that this has been the steepest learning curve I have encountered throughout my education and career. In three short months I have progressed from minimal teaching experience to teaching across KS3 and 4, running my own enrichment activity, organising school trips, taking pastoral responsibilities with a form group and communicating with parents and governors. The support I have received from my mentor, Rachael Goddard, has been extensive and invaluable. Her feedback gives me the knowledge, skills and confidence to be the best teacher I can be in order for my students to flourish. Teaching is the most important job in the world and United Teaching is preparing me for such responsibility.”

The right partnership

It is so important to find the right match between mentor and mentee. Jasmine and Rachel work together effectively because the dedicated time each week is utilised to the maximum. Rachel ensures her feedback is purposeful and developmental. Jasmine is able to respond and act on her targets.

Rachel explains: “I’ve really enjoyed continuing by career development by undertaking the role of a professional mentor. Jasmine has been lovely to work with and has progressed so rapidly due to her ability to learn from feedback and her resilience. The knowledge and input from the team at William Hulme’s Grammar School and Institute of Education has allowed the whole department to advance, as the trainees give us refreshing ideas and perspectives. I’ve found the whole process very rewarding and thank you for the acknowledgement.”

“Mentoring a trainee is an immensely rewarding experience and a chance to help guide the development of the teachers of tomorrow.”

It has to be said that the success of the programme has been the quality of recruitment. The “raw materials” are already there and the trainees are willing to continuously develop their craft. Schools have valued each trainee they have worked with. Jamie Barker – Head of English at Salford City Academy has worked with Amy this year:

“Mentoring a trainee is an immensely rewarding experience and a chance to help guide the development of the teachers of tomorrow. As well as supporting them as they grow into their professional role, the trainee’s input in the department (with their innovative approach to new pedagogical ideas) is invaluable and often gives more-established staff the opportunity to refresh their way of thinking about the art of teaching.”

Our trainees appreciate having a supportive and reassuring mentor but they also value the support they are provided with from the wider school community. Finally, what trainees say about great mentors:

  • "Without my mentor I would have given up when the going got tough."
  • "He knew all the quick ways to help me with behaviour and was really good at guiding me through a chunk at a time when I felt overwhelmed."
  • "She was just there again and again even though I know she was busy, she gave me time."
  • "He knew what to suggest without me feeling silly. He didn’t mind if I just poured out everything in any order – we then put it back together in the right order!"
  • "She helped with the things I didn’t understand that I would have been embarrassed to ask."

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