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Teacher mentors

Crawford
Gary and Karen

The role of mentors is similar to that envisaged in the Action Research paradigm, in that they acted as critical friends' and become actively involved in the work being developed. Modelling was also critical, as the mentors drew heavily on their own teaching experiences. The role was developed to allow both parents and teachers to take ownership of the units of work and the processes that had developed. (The project provided funds in the form of school relief days for classroom teachers and teacher mentor/s to meet.) A small budget was made available to each school for the employment of relief staff to enable teachers time to meet, plan and undertake activities to support the project.

Mentor journal reflections

Having reached Walhallow prior to the arrival of the car containing Kevin, Bob, Suzanne and Judy, I was able to give Karen a little of the information that I knew about the project. I was able to stress the point that this was to be part of the normal planning and teaching that Karen would carry out within the school. It was not to be an extra' and that I was there to help and support her to make the project work and for her children to improve their Maths knowledge.

Having noticed the preparation of the ripped lines for tree planting gave me the idea of integrating the Maths unit into this activity that they were already planning. This reinforced the point I was trying to make re it being part of what they were already doing.

(Mentor Gary, Walhallow, 26/2/02)

Our First Meeting

Today we were introduced to the school and team of teachers we will be working with over the next three to four terms. Even as I sit here reflecting on the day I am still rather uncertain about how this project will unfold.

In many ways this is a new experience for me, as I like to know what the end result is going to look like. However, that is NOT the focus of this project. From my understanding, we are here to concentrate on and document the processes involved in engaging aboriginal students and the community with the draft Mathematics syllabus.

Like me, the three teachers that we will be working with - Janice, Noula and Erika seemed rather puzzled in our initial meeting. Nevertheless, my first impression of these teachers is that they are hard working and committed to their students' learning. Erika, who is currently a mobile at the school, seems a little more nervous than the others as she is not as comfortable with teaching Mathematics.

Above all, I felt that it was important to initially focus on building a good rapport with the three teachers today. In any change process there are always moments of confusion, excitement, weariness and STRESS. If Liz and I are going to be a true support to these teachers then I feel that openness and trust between all parties involved is very important. Hence, many of my conversations with these teachers today focussed on similarities between their teaching situations and my own. Hopefully the teachers came away feeling that I have some understanding of their situations at the school.

(Mentor Belinda, Crawford, 27/2/02)

Reflections after first meeting

Teachers:

  • Teachers seem unclear as to what the project entails
  • Need to know what is wanted of them
  • Seem interested and motivated
  • Visibly relaxed as the discussion around the project developed
  • Staff want both mentors to work together with each class
  • Would like questions to target their reflections
  • Seem to relate to Belinda and me
  • Interested in developing units collaboratively
  • Want an opportunity to observe their class when someone else is teaching
  • Liked the notion of developing 3 units of work that they could then share
(Mentor Liz, Crawford)
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