1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Argh mentor doing my head in

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by blueskydreaming, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Rant begins:

    My NQT mentor gave me no support in my first term. I was totally thrown in at the deep end. I feel like she actually goes out of her way to avoid me, and she doesn't communicate with me at all regarding our shared classes. I find her cold to the point of rude. She talks down to me like she is talking to a very naughty child, even though I am 11 years older than her! She refuses to view me as a colleague, an equal, and I don't feel that she wants to be on friendly terms with me at all. I feel that she is hostile, and I do not feel it is appropriate or necessary to behave this way towards me at all.

    At the start of term 2 I asked for mentor meetings on a weekly basis, which she agreed to. I didn't realise that she wanted to set the day in stone though, as we've switched days during the past few weeks. This evening she's sent me a rude email, copying in superiors, criticising me for 'going home' rather than meeting with her. She hasn't actually spoken to me, or emailed me since Friday, so didn't confirm this meeting with me!

    I am so angry. I don't appreciate the insinuation that I have just gone home (I have loads of marking, who cares where I do it, home is quieter!). I don't appreciate her copying in everyone, trying to 'get me into trouble', as it were. I don't appreciate her pretending that she is wonderfully supportive, when she isn't. I don't appreciate her trying to create a stressful and hostile working environment for me.

    By the way, I think she's trying to cover her back with this email, in terms of trying to show that she is supporting me, because of something that is happening which I won't go into on here (I don't want to identify myself though providing too much info...).

    I want to reply to the email, copying everyone in as she has done, saying the above, but in a more polite way. Should I?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Write a reply, but save it.
    Read it in the morning and then edit and send.
    Include an apology for not attending the meeting. However horrid a person is or however much you may dread the meetings, you should have gone or sent an apology prior to the meeting.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    The meeting wasn't set in stone, I didn't realise she wanted the meeting today though. I didn't fail to attend due to not liking her.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Play the game. Reply all. Pretend you don't realise that's what you're doing.
    "I'm so sorry! You hadn't confirmed a time for our meeting so I took my marking home. I really don't want to lose out on the time as your help has been invaluable - when can we meet up?"
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter


    Allow your jets to cool a little and pare down your first draft sending it, even if you have since spoken face-to-face with her or others about the issues in the email. Avoid an indignant tone, explain the issue away as your misunderstanding and make it clear that you took work home, thank her for her support and offer to meet with her on a regular basis. She may be a pain but she has the upper hand so smile and try not to grind your teeth.

    Charm, charm, charm.
    finisterre_277 and wanet like this.
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Thank you for the advice and support everyone. I did as suggested, and now I feel a lot better :)
    cissy3, finisterre_277 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  7. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    Agree with this, but would state 'I really don't want to lose out on the time as your mentoring and help is much appreciated.'

    Like other posters, write the email and send it much later. Good luck x
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    The 'CC' function in e-mail is the spawn of Satan. You have every right to feel aggrieved.
    magic surf bus and cissy3 like this.
  9. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    weekly mentor meetings are supposed to happen at a set time every week, and mine with my nqt happens in lesson time, not after school. have a chat with the person in charge of the county's nqts. have you had last term's report done? action plans? progress meetings? if not, the school is not providing what you are entitled to.
    cissy3 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    It is a misunderstanding really. Let's be honest, the Cc function is as much about her proving that she is offering a service, covering her own back, rather than purposely setting out to get you into trouble. I doubt they are bothered.

    I will say one thing, the tone of the post leads me to suggest that you are maybe not the easiest person to work with either... just saying.

    Also, I wonder if this says more about the current training for teachers, rather than your situation?
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Excellent! I thought @Flere-Imsaho 's wording was just perfect.

    Next step - how do you ensure that you maintain a positive working relationship with her from now on?

    Best wishes

  12. Mrskeletor

    Mrskeletor New commenter

    However, get onto NQT officer at county if things don't get better. I had to with my mentor who was destructive and awful. It makes my skin crawl to think that she is still teaching and that people in her new school don't know what type of person she is. I exposed her eventually, but only after a lot of hassle and me losing out! At least people realised in the end. Also, make sure you log every time she ignores you, what she says when she is rude and in what context.

    I just don't understand why some people are like this. It just makes life so much harder than it needs to be.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    She doesn't have to be friendly. She just has to be professional.

    Attend the meetings. Double-check you have the right day/time/place and, unless you think she's completely barking, do as she advises and be grateful for it.

    The purpose of this year is to get through it without incident. If you like the job then just suck it up. She's younger and maybe she is finding this a tough ask. Maybe she's shy/awkward. Maybe she's not very organised. Maybe she didn't want to do this.

    Smile and get on with it. You are the junior in this relationship and won't get anywhere unless you are compliant.
    magic surf bus, minnie me and wanet like this.
  14. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Sometimes BCC might be but CC is useful. Didn't start with emails, but carbon paper.
  15. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    She may also have had this dumped upon her and would rather not be doing it / doesn't feel confident about doing it.
  16. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Why do you think the tone of my post suggests I'm not an easy person to work with? I was expressing my anger and upset here on a forum where I am anonymous, I don't say these things to her face! That's why we use TES, isn't it? To vent our frustrations, and get advice.

    The council are involved as this has not been happening. The school do not seem to understand the way the NQT process works. They do not seem to understand what constitutes the Teacher Standards either! This is an ongoing problem. I think that one of the reasons for the email was to make it very obvious that she is now offering mentor meetings, in order to cover herself. Thank you for understanding!

    Thank you, I am already following this advice, which came from my union several weeks ago.

    Again, thanks to everyone for the help and support!
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    She obviously (well, the school) isn't doing a great job of mentoring.

    This comes under the heading of 'manage your manager'. Annoying that one has to do this but it is sometimes necessary.
    finisterre_277 likes this.
  18. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I didn't get that impression.

    Best of luck with it OP.
  19. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    There is a VERY clear process that schools have to follow if they have NQTs!
    anyone would think this is new....
    have you had all your obs?
  20. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    I agree.
    I use cc with emails (especially with trainees and NQTs) because I've seen other mentor friends get stabbed in the back when they've bent over backwards to help struggling ITT/NQTs only for said colleague to ignore them and then turn around when they've not done as well and try to blame the mentor. It doesn't happen often but I'm cautious and will always cover my back now.

    Not sure I'd say difficult to work, I also felt that the OP appears to have an issue being mentored by somebody younger. Otherwise there's no need to mention age (& there are enough people on TES who just love an opportunity to moan about young teachers being mean to old teachers).

    As a way forward, agree meetings with your mentor in advance with areas for discussion. Accept support and guidance (they have been teaching longer than you) and be professional - the mentor has no responsibility to be your friend.

Share This Page