Whether you are a provisionally registered teacher starting your journey or a mentor taking on the task of supporting a recent graduate. I have put together a guide for mentors to see what a successful mentoring programme may look like and a look into what new teachers may be expecting.
I graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood with no clue how to go from provisional to a fully registered teacher. If it wasn’t for my wonderful mentor I would’ve been lost and confused. So here is a look into my successful 2 years. I can now proudly say I am a fully registered early childhood teacher in New Zealand.
How do I find a Mentoring Programme?
When starting a new job at an early childhood centre often there is a mentor in-house. This may be the owner, manager or head teacher. If there is no one available in-house I recommend asking who mentors the other teachers and get in contact with that mentor. If the mentor is unwilling to take on more teachers try contacting a local centre or preschool, or get in contact with the Educational Council who can point you to a mentor nearby.
First Mentoring Meeting
I recommend setting a meeting date as soon as possible. Find a suitable date and time where you can begin your mentoring programme. Some places allow meetings to take place during work hours (non-contact time) and others may ask for the meetings to be outside of work hours.
At the first initial meeting get to know one another. I was asked pior to bring in my teaching philosophy with a comparison of it with my preschools philosophy. This enabled me to show how they both aligned and places where they may not have quite met.
Next work out a first goal together. Think about something you may want to work on. This may be writing meaningful learning stories, speaking another language, creating a resource, or improving a planning system.
My first teaching goal was to incorporate more te reo into my daily practice. We talked about how long I wanted to work on this goal and ways I might try and meet this goal over the next few months. Here some of the steps we penciled out as a guideline to get started.
- Complete a te reo course – I did a free online course for NZ residents only through TE WĀNANGA O RAUKAWA.
- Make te reo signs with various keywords in different areas of the preschool as reminders for myself and other teachers.
- Develop my own personal Pepeha.
- Ask for feedback from my fellow collegues.
- Have my mentor observe me speak te reo – for this I did a mat time where I weaved in the language naturally.
- Include learning stories in my documentation that had te reo
- Reflections – documenting challenges and hurdles
- Weekly Journal – documenting ways I incorporated te reo
How to Document Your Appraisal Programme
I recommend checking out these options and finding one that best suits you.
- Google Docs – create a free site and give access to only your mentor. If your mentor is not in house it can be accessed online from anywhere. You only need to set up a free gmail account.
- Interlead – Costs $59 per teacher
- Hardcopy – Head to your local stationary store and pick up a ring binder folder.
Documentation and Reaching your First Goal
At the 3 – 4 month mark set a date to meet with your mentor / provisional teacher again. At this point of time you do not need to have your goal completed, however, I chose to have what I set out to do in the guideline to be completed by then. As learning a language is always on-going.
At your second meeting go through each piece of ‘evidence’ and documentation. It is important to remember that when writing up your documentation that you try and find ways each piece of evidence can try and reach 5 – 6 of the standards of the teaching profession. On page 18 & 20 you can find the english version of the 6 standards. On pages 19 & 21 you can find the te reo version. The NZ teaching standards are your holy grail.
Once each piece of evidence has been linked to as many standards as possible have your mentor sign each piece of paper to show that she/he has seen and read it. I had each piece of documentation written up onto a table with a tick box system for each of the teaching standards. This is helpful to see what standards I needed to focus on more next time.
Where to go to next?
Discuss how the past 3 – 4 months has been – positive and negatives. My mentor wrote down my thoughts, giving an overview / personal evaluation of the time period. We talked about if there was anything outside of my goal I wanted to discuss. A time to get things off my chest, ask for support, and question certain things. From this my mentor asked me if I wanted to continue my previous goal or start my next goal. Naturally my next goal was formulated from my time of getting things off my chest. I felt I wanted to improve my learning stories and this is where my next 3 – 4 month journey began.
How Often Should I Meet With My Mentor?
A teachers life is busy and hectic. I recommend meeting at least 3 times a year. I found this kept me on my toes and ensured I got my work done. If I met any less than this I would’ve found myself at the end of the year struggling to piece enough documentation together to meet my goal. I will be honest and say no matter what goal I set I procrastinated it. I always had something else I was doing instead. Before I knew it, my next meeting would be coming up in a few weeks time and I’d scramble to gather all of my documentation. I’m thankful my mentor planned our meetings in advance and it was left to me to get what I could get finished in that time frame.
Applying for Full Registration
Mentors, when you feel your provisional teacher has completed their two years of hardwork, and you are confident they have meet all the standards it is time to sign-off.
Direct your teacher to the teaching council website where they can fill in the EC20 form – application for full practising certificate. It is recommended to fill in this application and have it sent away as soon as possible. It can take 3+ weeks for the application to be approved or a request for documentation to be sent through to the council for assessment.