Your weekly meetings with your mentor are likely to be the main focus of your in-school training at the moment.
It is a chance to ask questions, find out what you should be doing at this stage, and – for those of you who have started teaching (even just parts of lessons) getting much-needed feedback.
This post looks at two of the aspects of your meetings – feedback on your own teaching, and reflection on your mentor’s or other teachers’ lessons.
Things that may affect your recollection of observations
There is a debate about taking notes during an observation. Some people feel you may miss things if your head is constantly in your note-pad (or I-Pad); some people feel you may miss things if it is not!
Sometimes your mentor meeting is straight after one of these observations – sometimes it may be almost a week before you meet. Much can happen in between these times! So we have to consider the memory effect.
There is also the obvious aspect of the mentor’s presence in a lesson – whether it is your lesson or a colleague’s.
Students are more likely to behave differently when the mentor is in the room. than when they are not.This could be a happy advantage early on in your training, but not so useful if you want advice on behaviour management!
A final thought is that of your emotional response to your lesson. On occasion you will come away feeling disheartened or even concerned about the lesson. In your mind you may even consider that the entire lesson was at fault! This is not usually the case, but our emotional memory can often surpass our logical recall!
I have worked for many years with mentors and trainees on introducing video into their observations. The students do get used to this (I have written a whole paper on this) but even so, their initial reaction can be far out-weighed by the benefits.
Dr Sharon Williams