Carol Walters is so passionate about mentoring that she’s taken a year off her teaching role to mentor full-time for the Teaching Council’s induction and mentoring pilot, Tuakana Teina.
Carol worked in a community-based childcare centre, Campus Crèche at Waikato University for almost 10 years, has been the manager of a centre, has worked with many age groups, and has done mentoring with Graeme Dingle Foundation. Tuakana Teina offers her the opportunity to harness her skills, knowledge and experience and match these with Provisionally Certificated teachers (PCTs) supporting them in their journey to full certification.
Carol currently mentors six PCTs at different stages of their learning journey and each are facing different challenges – including one teacher who moved from Montessori practice to mainstream, one teacher who shifted from primary to early childhood education, another who has worked in a Kohanga Reo and has moved to mainstream and a couple of beginning teachers.
“The mentoring process is a very personal journey,” says Carol, “we talk about what they want to achieve, areas for development, and strengths.”
“To start with we meet for two hours for the first three weeks to build whanaungatanga – trust and relationships are hugely important. During these conversations we discuss things such as their goals, room inquiries, and how their planning works. I encourage the teachers to talk to their professional leader so everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals. I promote and encourage their professional goals.”
The Tuakana Teina programme focuses on supporting beginning teachers in developing and understanding of the values that underpin teaching and Our Code, Our Standards. It also focuses on linking practical tasks of effective goal-setting and implementing curriculum documents, collating meaningful evidence of reflective practice whch ensure positive outcomes for both the learning and well-being of ākonga and teachers.
Carol (pictured on right with PCT mentee Theresa Kiff) says the teachers that she works with, have been proactive and responsive to their own learning. “I can’t stress enough that there’s no shame in putting your hand up and asking for help. It’s a very good thing. A couple of the PCT’s I work with have said to me that having a mentor from outside the education setting can see things on a whole different level and that benefits the teacher, the team and the centre.”
Carol also works with management and together they come up with ideas to help extend the teachers and the tamariki. “Teachers helping teachers. How great is that! I like to help the teacher gain clarity on who they are and what they want to achieve, so they can thrive in their environment. Ultimately, my role is to empower teachers to believe in themselves and gain confidence so their qualities shine.”
Carol encourages teachers to get involved in the Tuakana Teina pilot. “Mentoring is a very powerful tool, if you’re feeling overwhelmed it can help you get back on track and often you’re doing better than you think!”