Three key questions to ask your mentor

15th July 2016 at 15:15
These three simple questions will not only help your progress and give you an insight into your mentor’s expertise, but will also make sure you two get on perfectly.

Sometimes NQTs and induction mentors hit it off, usually they just get on fine, but more often than not it’s a matter of developing that business-like relationship.

Whatever your connection with your mentor, there are three questions you can ask them which will make sure you’re always standing in good stead:

  1. What can I do to make your life easier?
    You’re signalling that you’re thinking about things from your mentor’s perspective, demonstrating concern for their workload and, at the same time, taking control of the induction process. However, be careful, this doesn’t mean you should take anything and everything your mentor suggests upon yourself.
    Asking questions of this kind indicates your willingness to drive the process forward, leaving your mentor with the task of giving you good advice and support.
  2. If you were in my shoes, how would you approach this problem?
    This question not only shows that you value your mentor’s opinion, but helps them to think from your perspective. It also allows you to make sure that the discussion is as useful to you as possible, since you’re the one who defines the problem you want to talk about. Essentially you are giving your mentor a gentle prod to make sure they focus their thinking on how you can best deal with it.
  3. With your experience as a teacher, what would you suggest I try next?
    This question gilds your relationship with your mentor – you’re indicating that you value and respect their experience. It’s also likely to elicit particularly high-quality advice. By prompting your mentor to think about and share their experiences, you are activating the expert knowledge and understanding they have.

Mike Gershon is a teacher-trainer and author of Growth Mindset Pocketbook

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