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What makes a great NQT Mentor?

Being an NQT mentor is a hugely responsible but also rewarding experience for a teacher.  But what distinguishes a ‘good’ mentor from a ‘great’ one?  Our NQT Training Director James Siddle gives his top tips on what makes a ‘great’ mentor.     

Keep contact frequent

Weekly scheduled meetings are best, but informal contact should occur on a daily basis. Popping in to say hello and checking to see how they are doing can keep the NQT focused and feeling supported.   

It’s not all about the grades

The key to great support is frequent, un-graded observations that offer constructive feedback and suggestions on how they can improve. Grading too early can lead to feelings of failure, especially during the early days of learning their craft. 

If everything a priority, then nothing is a priority

Don’t overwhelm them with too many targets.  Give three targets as a maximum, and allow them to work on these for at least a half term.  Monitor progress in your weekly meetings.

Praise, Praise, Praise

Be kind to your NQTs. Praise their effort, tenacity and hard work regularly. 

Never say “you’re doing so well, we don’t see you as an NQT”

This may sound like a compliment to an NQT who seems to be doing well.  However, this can be dangerous path to go down.  All NQTs, regardless of talent, require support and feedback on how they are doing. 

Give them Space to Fail

Don’t be tempted to step in and rescue an NQT every time a lesson is going wrong.  Use the experience to talk about what went wrong and what they could have done differently.  Share some teaching ‘war stories’ of when things have gone badly for you and show them that even experienced teachers get it wrong sometimes!

South Bromsgrove High Teaching School is an NQT Appropriate Body.  We have 50 NQTs following our induction programme in 2018/19.  We offer four full days training for NQTs and two half day training events for NQT Mentors.  To find out more, or to register NQTs for our programme, please visit our NQT pages.