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Mentor too attached to children

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by amnarana40, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. amnarana40

    amnarana40 New commenter

    Hi all, I am at my first placement of Secondary English PGCE. My mentor is very rude also she knows the pupils from primary.
    Today i had an observed lesson and after a while the HoD came to observe me as well. The HoD is a very bad observer she huffs and puffs amd sighs and shakes her head at everything i was saying.

    Then the pupils clocked on i was being observed and one of the pupils just kept asking on questions and not listening so i said to him "did u not listen what i said 2 mins ago, please listen" and that ****** my mentor off in the classroom she went and apologised to the pupil on my behalf destroying my credibility abd then ripped into me after the lesson sje was deeply personally offended with the way i spoke to him they are her children i m a guest in HER school i should watch the way i speak because they are HER children she thinks of them as her own and should stay in line.

    Also premier pathway trainees are training in the school as well and they alwats come up and ask how the lesson went and i say it went okay or alright. And they report it back to my mentor who thinks that i think i m a great teacher. She was like do u think u are a good teacher? My colleagues are not lying they come and tell me.

    I get so nervous in her lessons now cuz i never know what might set her off.

    She doesnt respect me doesnt talk to me properly. Doesnt get back to me about lesson plans with 4 weeka left till christmas i m starting to break.
  2. bg31rr

    bg31rr New commenter


    I'm not sure what you're looking for - presumably advice?

    There is no issue with the HoD knowing children unless it affects the way they treat them. Have they given you specific feedback other than "huffing and puffing?"

    "Did you not listen" could sound rude to children you haven't built a relationship with. I'm not say it's completely unreasonable but if you're HoD doesn't like it perhaps try something like, "I expect you to be listening."

    Also if you are saying that your lessons are alright then I can see why she thinks you think you're good. You're pretty much saying that.

    However, saying all of that, you shouldn't be made to feel completely uncomfortable. Yes it is her school and some teachers get very precious about their students but clearly that doesn't help you. I think a discussion would be beneficial just so you know where you stand.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
    blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  3. amnarana40

    amnarana40 New commenter

    Hi thanks for your reply.

    My mentor is point blank rude and makes a lot of personal comments. In one observation she said that it was like sitting ans watching her fav subject being butchered. She has accused me of being rude, i have been accused of leaving the school early even though i stayed back and keeping in mind i take 2 buses so after 4 the traffic becomes so horrendous that its a pain trying to get home. This week i was told off in her exact words 'how dare u speak to tje student like that. Thats my children u have offended my personally' she says she doesnt care if u take what i say on board or not it doesnt effect me.

    It just hurts a lot. I have never been spoken to in thia way. I almost want to quit pgce.
    pepper5 and xxalex123xx like this.
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Try to improve your written and spoken English. That may help.
  5. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    I suspect the OP is writing on her phone in text speak/grammar/punctuation. @amnarana40 you need to be a little more formal on here if you want to be taken seriously!
    Your first placement is nearly over, so time to reflect on what has happened. You and your mentor are clearly rubbing each other up the wrong way. People often give back what they get, so do consider if you are acting in a superior way towards her. We all like to see confidence in young teachers- they're going to need it, frankly- but a core value of all good teachers everywhere is that they care about their students.
    You need to develop some ways of thinking that address what you need from the student eg that you need them to pay better attention, with an effective and thoughtful way of communicating that to them.

    If they didn't hear the first time, I would have a steps to success on the wall to guide them through if it's complicated. They could also ask their neighbour if you are sure that it is just him and not most of the class. Perhaps you need something in the class about what to do when you don't know what to do eg listen carefully/think/check the steps to success/ask a friend/ask the teacher.
    As a student, you should also consider if what you have taught has been clear, as a means to improve your teaching. Did you present that in the best way? Could it have been a bit confusing? Did you give my students enough to be able to go off and do that confidently?
    I would love to have a child that asked when they didn't understand. It is worth bearing in mind that for every one that asks, there are probably at least 5 more that haven't really followed it either but are either too shy to ask, or haven't realised there's a problem yet. Children that ask are usually a gift worth treasuring.
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Something they don't teach you about on the PGCE is school politics. She's right - you are a guest in her school, and they are her students; you need to do things they way she likes. That's what the PGCE is all about, I'm afraid.

    As you say, only a few more weeks until Christmas, then your next placement. Try to be friendly, formal and professional with everyone at school. Action any feedback for improvement as best you can. When you start placement 2 be mindful of the school's ethos, and be careful not to offend.

    P.S. respect is earned; you cannot demand it.
    pepper5, Pomza and galerider123 like this.
  7. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Someone above has excused your grammar/writing style due to the fact that you might be typing on your phone, but this does not excuse your use of 'effect' in the post above.

    'effect' is a noun
    'affect' is a verb

    You are training to be an English teacher. If you do not know something as basic as this, how will you be able to teach more advanced content?

    What has your lesson feedback been like, in terms of subject knowledge? This may be the root of your problem, as you have hinted above. You have mentioned the way your mentor treats you, and that you think your lessons are 'OK' or 'alright', but you have not mentioned any feedback you have received from your mentor and others.
    pepper5 and Alice K like this.
  8. bg31rr

    bg31rr New commenter

    I would ask the receptionist/your HoD/the headteacher what time you are expected to be on site from and the time you may leave. For example, I have to be on site from 8am. For most schools, leaving before 4 is quite early. It's unfortunate that your placement is a pain to get to but this is a woe echoed by many PGCE students - reassure yourself that you don't have to apply for jobs with this type of commute.

    I still don't see why she thinks that. As others have said: is it subject knowledge? Is your delivery dry and uninspiring?

    One of the hardest parts of the PGCE is the jumping through hoops and trying to simultaneously please your uni, the class teacher, the head and your mentor who could all be different people. However, as someone else said, this is good preparation for school politics and you need to learn how to deal with it without aggravating the issue.

    Looking ahead, is it just her classes that you teach or can you get a second opinion? Can you ask someone else to observe you? The more feedback you have the better but ultimately you will have to take it on the chin and deal with it.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Humble pie does not taste very nice but sometimes a small slice needs to be consumed to help steer your ship into calmer waters.
    henrypm0 and pepper5 like this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    She's right, PGCE students on placement are the guests of schools. This said mentors, especially of the devouring mother type you describe, can be utter *****. Teachers at all levels are overworked and under-appreciated and can be short-tempered, and like any workplace some schools are quagmires for ambition and self-confidence. Teaching is very popular as a prospective career these days so PGCE providers will take any placement school they can get and many do not give a monkey's about the needs of their students. What should you do? Several things.

    First, keep an accurate diary of everything said to you at placement and at your provider. Realistically, this means writing down everything which is said to you because - and this is important - there is no such thing as an informal meeting. Even a few minutes' conversation, in a corridor or while waiting in line to use the microwave some grumpy TA is using to broil last night's tuna, should be regarded as an interview because you can be sure that whatever you say will get back to your mentor. It's good to be able to refer to your notes about a particular conversation or event if they ever arise at a future point, and to do so visibly.

    Second, have a fleshed-out Plan B into which you can slide with minimal effort and expenditure. Dedicate a weekend to putting this down on paper, put it somewhere at home where you can find it easily and review & revise it every now and then. The PGCE tutors & mentors judging you at this time, they don't know you nor do they have any way of preventing you being a success in any other endeavour. Your friends & family will respect you more for having tried a difficult profession even if it is not for you. If you have to leave then shake the dust from your feet, take a position which will cover you for as long as it takes you to land something with prospects among people who respect hard workers and will take the time to develop your talents in whatever direction they might lay.

    Stay positive, work hard for your good luck.

    Idiomas11 and (deleted member) like this.
  11. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    She might be protective of the class as a whole - a class which is considered to be working well gets you a rebuke if you are judged to be interrupting its group momentum and motivation. It may not, then, be the real quality of any individual pupil's relationship to her. I seem to remember getting feedback after a lesson that it was a shame it was poor because that class was a good class (i.e. not deserving of a naff teacher). If this is the case you might do better in classes which have been characterized less stably 'whole'.

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