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Information for the Mentoring Teacher in the Placement

The mentoring teacher plays a significant role in the formation of the student teacher. The mentoring teacher is an employee of the host college or centre and he or she is part of an overall framework of support for the student teacher.

Who can become a mentoring teacher?

Mentoring teachers need to satisfy three requirements as follows:

  1. Be an employee of the host college or centre – this is important because the student teacher will needs to establish multiple new relationships in an unfamiliar setting and requires someone to “show them the ropes”.
  2. Be an experienced teacher in the subjects for which the student teacher will be teaching during the Team Teaching and Provisional Teaching phases.
  3. Be willing to work with the student teacher and to help him or her develop as a competent professional teacher. This will also involve meeting with the Placement Tutor and completing a comment sheet at the end of the Team Teaching and Provisional Teaching phases.

Does the mentoring teacher participate in the assessment of the student teacher?

The mentoring teacher completes a short comment sheet and has a short private meeting with the placement tutor. These comments are taken into account as part of the overall components of assessment. However, the placement tutor and the course team at NCI determine the module marks.

Why should a teacher agree to become a mentor?

  • Mentoring teachers are contributing to the future of your profession by the support and example you provide for the student teacher.
  • Mentoring teachers have an opportunity to grow their own professional experience by working alongside a student teacher and observing and supporting someone else teach in their subject area.
  • Mentoring teachers will be invited to attend a workshop on how the module operates and on teaching and learning. This workshop is intended as a professional development event rather than just an information session.
  • The course team values input of the mentoring teachers and will maintain contact with mentoring teachers after completion of the course inviting them to attend a professional development workshop on an annual basis.

What does the mentoring teacher need to do next?

The mentoring teacher needs to familiarise himself or herself with the section in this booklet that outlines the three phases of the placement. The student teacher will be required to complete a Schedule of Activities for each of the three phases and the mentoring teacher will need to agree that these schedules are realistic and achievable.

During the Observation Phase the student teacher is expected to observe (for 30 hours) different teaching contexts within the college or organisational setting. The observations should not be limited to the work of the mentoring teacher. It is desirable that the student teacher have opportunities to observe, support and experience as many teaching situations as possible. Attendance at staff and subject meetings will count toward the teaching observation hours.

During the Team Teaching Phase the student teacher is expected to team teach for at least 35 hours. This is a further stage in the formation of the competence for professional teaching. The mentoring teacher will be expected to facilitate the student teacher to document class plans and to engage in co-teaching practices. It is up to the mentoring teacher how s/he gradually facilitates the student teacher to assume the responsibilities of class management. During this phase the placement tutor will visit and although all that is required at this stage is a site meeting the mentoring teacher may choose to invite the tutor to observe the team teaching in action. At the end of this phase the mentoring teacher will be asked to agree that the student teacher may proceed to the Provisional Teaching Phase.

During the Provisional Teaching Phase the student teacher will gradually assume control of the class. This transition should not be sudden and the mentoring teacher should remain in contact with the student teacher throughout. It is a good idea to ‘debrief’ the student teacher after classes. The student teacher has access to support from within the course (the placement tutor, programme director and other members of the team). However, the mentoring teacher will be on-site and very familiar with the setting and so s/he is well placed to provide immediate support.

It is important to emphasise that if the mentoring teacher is concerned in any way about the behaviour and/or well-being of the student teacher the mentoring teacher should contact the placement tutor. The mentoring teacher will be provided with the contact details for the placement tutor at the onset. Further information on who to contact in National College of Ireland is provided at the end of this booklet.

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