As an Early Career Teacher (ECT), having an effective mentor will make your induction years much easier.
A good mentor can help guide you through your teaching career, offer support and advice, and help you grow into the teacher you want to be.
But how often should you meet with your mentor? And what should you talk about during your meetings? In this article, we will answer these questions and more!
Related: For more, check out our article on What Is An ECT Mentor here.
Why Having A Mentor Is Essential For ECTs
Most early career teachers (ECTs) would agree that having a supportive and experienced mentor is one of the most important aspects of a successful transition into the teaching profession.
A good mentor will be there to encourage and praise you when things are going well and offer support and guidance when things are not.
They will be your first port of call when you have questions or need advice, and their experience will be invaluable in helping you navigate the challenges of early career teaching.
Here are just a few things that a mentor will be able to support you through:
1. Classroom management
2. Differentiated instruction
4. Curriculum planning
5. Professional development
6. Building relationships with parents and guardians
7. Time management
8. Understanding school policies and procedures
9. Classroom environment
How Often Should You Meet With Your Mentor As An ECT?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the frequency of meetings will depend on the individual needs of the ECT and the mentor’s availability.
However, most experts agree that meeting at least once a week during the first few months of teaching is necessary. In reality, you will probably be speaking with your mentor daily, checking in and reflecting on how the teaching is going.
The Early Career Framework states that you will have a 15-minute observation from your mentor every week and then get 45 minutes of feedback based on what they have seen.
These 45 minutes will blend feedback and coaching to help you move forward and be in a better place for your following observation.
The ECT mentor should not just be coming to observe the ECT at the same time every week. In schools, we understand that lead time and PPA usually have set times in the timetable.
As an ECT mentor, you will need to be released from your class, if classroom-based, at a variety of times to ensure that you observe your ECT in some different lessons and at several different times throughout the lesson.
An ECT will not benefit from being observed for the first 15 minutes of maths every single week for the whole year. Your observation breakdown for one half-term may look like this:
Week 1: Registration
Week 2: Maths Input
Weeks 3: English Input
Week 4: History/Geography Plenary
Week 5: PE Input
Week 6: Hometime
Week 7: Class Assembly time
What Topics Should You Discuss With Your Mentor?
There are no hard and fast rules about what topics you should discuss with your mentor, as this will depend on your individual needs and the stage you are at in your career.
However, here are some suggestions for topics that could be covered in mentoring meetings:
1. Classroom management: Discuss strategies for managing your classroom and behaviour for learning.
2. Differentiated instruction: How to differentiate your lessons to meet the needs of all learners.
3. Assessment: Formative and summative assessment strategies, marking feedback, and self-assessment.
4. Curriculum planning: Discuss how you plan your lessons, units and schemes of work.
5. Professional development: What courses or training would benefit you? How can you progress in your career?
6. Building relationships with parents and guardians: Strategies for building positive relationships, dealing with difficult conversations.
7. Time management: Tips for managing your time effectively, planning your workload, and dealing with paperwork.
8. Understanding school policies and procedures: An overview of the central policies and procedures you must know as a teacher.
9. Classroom environment: Creating a positive learning environment in your classroom.
These are just some examples – the topics you discuss with your mentor will depend entirely on your needs.
Other Ways A Mentor Can Support
As well as meeting regularly to discuss any concerns or issues you may have, your mentor can also provide other forms of support during your induction years. Here are some examples:
1. Model lessons: Your mentor can observe your teaching and then provide feedback on your performance. They may also model a lesson to show you how it’s done!
2. Joint planning: You and your mentor can plan lessons together so that you can see how experienced teachers go about planning their lessons.
3. Resources and materials: Your mentor can share any resources or materials that they have used successfully in the past, to save you time and effort in creating your own.
4. Professional development: As well as suggesting courses or training that would benefit you, your mentor can also help you access these opportunities and provide support during and after the training.
5. Pastoral support: Your mentor can provide emotional support if you find your role as a teacher challenging or experiencing any personal difficulties.
The benefits of having an effective mentor relationship are evident. As an ECT, you must make the most of this support to ensure a smooth transition into the profession and lay the foundations for a successful career in teaching.
Remember, there is no ‘right’ way to do things – your mentor relationship will be unique to you and your needs. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open so that you can both get the most out of the experience.
How many hours does an ECT teach?
Your directed hours for the academic year are 1265, or a pro-rata amount for part-time staff. The 1256 hours should include all face-to-face teaching, parent-teacher meetings, data submissions, report writing, and the occasional cover.
Does ECT pay increase in the second year?
The 2-year induction does not adversely affect an Early Career Teacher’s salary or future job opportunities. ECTs can still advance on the pay scale both during and after induction.
Can you have a TLR as an ECT?
Early Career Teachers who accept an extra long-term duty can receive a TLR payment for their work, which will rely on their schools’ pay structure.