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Hello there. I had the most dreadful time with my mentor yesterday and I really you some advice as to what I should do.


Let me explain. I am an unqualified teacher working in reception. I have full class responsibility. I am doing the GTP training next year. My mentor is also my phase leader. She will spend some time next year team teaching with me which Im not keen on but have no choice. I have accepted this as part of my training.


yesterday we looked at my audit of taining needs and she is unhappy that I have indicated 'good' or better in nearly all areas. Thats how I feel. I have worked really hard all year and although i need to learn lots more, i feel have a done a very good job and my mentor should accept this.


She is saying amongst other things that I cant self evaluate beacuse I think Im good at everything. She has also cricticised me because i argue with her. Well I believe in standing my ground. She said I cant criticise baecuse Im new to the profession, and should have a bit more repsect for her and my other colleague's experience. I feel this is so unfair. I find it so difficult as she only works part time and has been of sick a lot of the past year, what right has she to have a go. I aleady have to produce everything on the computer which is extra work, because she has reading difficulties. I feel that she thinks I'm useless and I just need to prove to everyone that Im as good as I think I am.


I have spoken to the Head and my year group partner, and they have both said I should trust her judgment as she does know what she is talking about. Well I do, I know she is very experienced and very skilled but

I just worry that the year will be a disater if we get off on the wrong foot. I dont want to spend the summer worrying about it either.


sorry for the long winded maon, what should I do?

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Hello Aquarius,

I'm sorry you are feeling bad at the moment, but urge you not to dwell on these negatives, as they will just spoil your summer break and will almost certainly get next year off on the wrong foot, which nobody wants!


Mentoring can be a rewarding, satisfying experience but it can also be a thankless, soul-destroying task (I have personal experience, here), so please don't be too harsh on yours. Try not to regard the comments made as 'having a go' - you have indicated that you are aware of her knowledge and experience, so surely you could regard any comments as useful.


While I agree that it's good to stand your ground, be aware that this can easily become confrontation, which can be very counter-productive. I would look at the computer side of things as a plus, at least you can make it look the way you want - I hate it when someone else types stuff up for me!


I should spend the next few weeks relaxing so that you can go back to school in September fresh and ready to face the challenge of your training year.



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Oh dear I do feel sorry for you.

From what you are saying there seems to be a major problem with communication between you and your mentor. She may feel threatened by the fact that she has had a lot of time off ill and you have been in post all through that time, she may be uncomfortable with perhaps some of the changes she has seen and because she hasnt been around then you may not have been able to talk these through with her. There could be many issues she is feeling. For instance, reading between the lines I think you feel that you have not had the support you should have had and when you feel that you have done a good job without all this, feel really demotivated. I think the best way is to try and build up some good communication. With regard to self evaluation, of course you can say that you feel that you have done a good job but there doesn't seem have been much conversation with regard to why you feel you think you have achieved a good and how and what you can do to make it even better. This is all part of the self evaluation. This would open up more discussion between you and would hopefully open up both sides of the communication where you will both learn from each other. It's not a one way thing as we know. I don't know whether you have read Ghaye and Ghaye Reflective Practice but it may help you in trying to review and self evaluate on what you feel is going really well and why perhaps you don't like some things and most importantly how you can improve on them.


Perhaps you could arrange for a chat at the beginning of term to discuss how and what you are both hoping to achieve, areas of weaknesses and strengths and how these can be developed. I find it sometimes helps to write everything down just as you have started to do here - make lots of notes on what you think you have done well and what you would like to do. I think you could probably work really well together, you obviously both have good ideas, hers from experience and yours from your recent practice and training - it's just about finding that middle ground and accepting each others view points and working out ways you can bring them together to achieve something even better through constructive communication, arguing doesn't really help and I know you want to stand your ground because you believe in certain issues but you need to tread carefully here as this will only push her back into a corner which won't be at all helpful in achieving what you want. You need to talk around the problem so you are both able to put forward your views.


Not too sure if this helps at all but you obviously wanted some feedback as you seemed so fed up. Anyway I wouldn't worry too much things always have a way of turning out for the better.



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Sorry to hear you're feeling low at the moment, but you can be proactive in improving the situation, by

* Looking again at your judgements on your own practice. Be really specific about the points you think are good, and why you think you have performed well.

* Asking your mentor, in a non-confrontational way, to be specific in her comments. Can she be precise in her recommendations for your improvements?


It does seem that communication between you might not have been as clear as it could have been, but I'm sure both of you will want to put that right. Your mentor has a good reputation with the senior management, and you will, I'm sure, want to benefit from her expertise and experience. You both just need to get the relationship back onto a more supportive track. :)


Even the very best teachers can improve upon their practice, and that's really what self-evaluation is all about. If you can justify why you think you're good, you can then (both) make plans for your next steps.


Try not to think of her as "having a go", or that she thinks you're useless. That's very unlikely to be the case, or your senior management team would have intervened by now.


I'd try to relieve the tension as soon as possible, and make plans together for a happy start to next year. Try to be really honest with her, and tell her how you're feeling. Fretting all over the summer holidays is to be avoided! I do hope you both sort this out. :)

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thankyou for your helpful words.

yes Nicola i think she does feel threatened because I have come in unqualified form key stage 2 and basically done a good job. I have been well supported by my year group partner but have had argumenst with her at various points too. I say it as it is and my mentor doesnt like it then that's tough.


I just want to be appeciated for all the hard work that I have put in that she hasnt seen. It makes me so mad that she can just come in when shes barely been here all year and tell me what to do. I know she's my line manager and takes full repsosibility for the phase but I also think shes' a rubbish manager. She has said she will pull rank if she needs to when i have argues with oevr practice. I do have some specific examples but id rather not go into details as Im still so mad. I feel like she has destroyed everything Ive worked so hard for and I just want her to ahev as much faith in me as I have.


I am seeing er this aftrenoon so hopefully we can clear the air, but i cant see how this can be workable.

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Hi Aquarius -


Sounds like your situation is difficult at the moment, but I think the advice above is fairly sound. You need to get on with your mentor as well as you can - and you need at the very least to maintain a working relationship with her.


It seems to me that because you've been managing well in her absence you don't really feel that you need any suggestions or guidance at all, which could lead to problems, no matter how good you are in your role. Even the best students can benefit from guidance! :)


It might be worthwhile to ask her what she feels that you're doing well, to give you some feedback on what you've already accomplished - she may be purely concentrating on those areas she feels you are least confident in (because it's her role as a mentor to do so) thinking that in other areas you're competent enough not to need feedback at all.


Just a quick tip from an old man, which you can ignore if you wish - it's always easier to create a rift than repair it, and calming down at the point when you feel you'd really like to explode is rarely a bad strategy!

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Dear Steve,

Wise words about keeping stum when you want to explode - i wish I could remember that sometimes - its always best to go back afterwards when the air is calmer


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