The Mentoring ExperienceNicola Harris
Being a mentor has taken me back to my first teaching days, when I spent more hours planning than teaching, and felt a mixture of excitement, fear and wonder before every class. I remember seeing a potential lesson in every article, recipe or email I read, and then annoying family and friends with all the TEFL jargon I threw into our everyday conversation (“There’s too much TTT going on in the schools these days and not enough TPR!”).
I sent out a brief questionnaire to the other two mentors and three mentees in the Foundations Department to gauge their progress. All the mentees felt excited when they first started, and one said she was curious about what awaited her in her new position. Surprisingly the mentors (myself included) were the ones that felt a little overwhelmed initially, but after receiving good training in Dubai and support from our chairs (as well as putting an action plan into place) we now feel we have all the tools to support and guide our mentees. The main challenge for both mentors and mentees has been time management: finding the time to meet on a regular basis within the chaos of a normal work day. A big highlight and spinoff from putting in the time, has been watching our mentees grow, learn and apply what they’ve learnt in the classroom. This has made mentoring a very rewarding experience.
What has surprised the mentees about working at HCT? One mentee mentioned the high workload, while another spoke about the use of technology both inside and outside the classroom. All the mentees spoke about the level of energy and cooperation among the staff despite the high workload, which has helped create a very supportive and pleasant work environment for them.
What advice would they give to someone new to the programme?
‘Utilise every PD opportunity. Don’t be scared to ask for help. Talk to your colleagues about your joys, failures, and strategies in the classroom.’ (Denise Josiah)
‘The first week is very important so use it to learn how to use the HCT system and to plan for the upcoming weeks.’(Nourah Mourad)
‘Enter the program with confidence and a passion to learn and discover.’ (Amal Al Yammahi)
‘Trust yourself and don’t hesitate to ask and learn from others because it is the best time for you to learn.’ (Rasha Alzaabi)
‘Try to integrate with the staff already here and learn from each other. There is a good support network in HCT’ (Tracy Munteanu)
Being a mentor at a time of great change at HCT has been a real privilege for me. The learning has happened both ways and I feel that one day, when it’s time for me to move on, I will carry with me a deeper and more meaningful connection to the UAE from this experience.