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Dear mentor...

We commend the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which issues an occasional publication aimed at supporting probationer teachers in various ways.

One of these is through the tried and tested "agony aunt" approach. Of course, those with the burning questions are not identified - but the GTC "mentor" who offers them wisdom supplies their own soubriquet.

Thus the probationer who wonders what to do with her class, who have an "insatiable thirst for information about my private life", is addressed as "Dear Private Probationer".

Another rookie, anxious to know how to achieve a home-work balance, is "Dear Exhausted Teacher". And another who presents a problem of not knowing which is the best way to organise class resources earns the title of "Dear Confused Teacher".

The GTC mentor is nothing if not inventive. "Confused Teacher", who admits to carrying around boxes and bags of classroom resources, is told firmly:

"If you must use carrier bags for storage, go upmarket. It will do your street cred no end of good."

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