Best Practice

Helping early career teachers to avoid the common pitfalls

How can mentors help early career teachers to avoid common pitfalls and overcome common problems that are often encountered during the first years of teaching? ECT mentor Sean Harris advises

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17


I’m a little rusty with my metallurgy but I can see the point of this Biblical proverb. There is benefit in the friction created between two iron blades. It makes them more effective for the purpose of cutting.

Mentoring in schools can add value. It can sharpen learning and practice. Mentoring can provide a sounding board for dialogue that enables teachers to develop. However, it can be a blunt tool if poorly implemented.


The rise of mentoring

Mentoring has gained prominence in schools thanks to the provisions of the Early Career Framework (DfE, 2019). This has benefits, but it is important to remember that effective mentoring is a concentrated process rooted in both formal and informal modes of communication.

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