Whilst I like the idea of experienced and outstanding teachers helping to mentor student teachers, I am very bewildered by a proposal to have private school teachers mentor public school teachers.
Who thought of this crazy plan?
It is such a simplistic generalisation that private school teachers are superior to their public counterparts. So what if private school kids get better academic results. We all know that the credit doesn’t solely fall on the classroom teachers. Private school students are given higher expectations by their parents and often have tutors to help them when they are behind.
That is why it was refreshing to read an article by lecturer, James Williams:
The results that private schools achieve may be impressive – but results are one thing, raising aspirations in a cohort of disaffected youths, when your experience is of children with Cath Kidston pencil cases who holiday in the Bahamas is quite another.
The problem with such debates is that they miss an important point.
Not all teachers, regardless of how they have been trained, can teach in all schools.
The reality of teacher training is that there is no ‘one method’ of training that instantly produces excellent teachers who can turn their hand to any school, any challenge and any system.
An important skill for those who are teacher trainers, like me, is recognising your trainee’s strengths and weaknesses and guiding them to teach in the right school for them.
It is very good to hear that teacher training is under the microscope. For too long the problems to do with teacher training was swept under the carpet. Teachers spend years of their lives slaving away for a degree that ultimately does precious little for preparing them for the realities of the classroom.
I like the idea of a mentor system, I just don’t like this one.