Maximizing the Benefit of a Mentor as a Substitute Teacher

Just because I have a mentor doesn’t mean I will benefit from their help. I need to be intentional about meeting with them, implementing their advice and asking more questions. Here are a few ways to make the most of having a mentor.

  1. Ask questions. Ask lots of questions. Ask about problems, about time management, about behaviour management, about rights and responsibilities, differences between schools, teachers and principals, about anything and everything.
  2. Ask more questions. Once you have an answer and you’ve implemented it, you may find it didn’t work. When this happens, ask clarification questions. Explain what happened and ask what your mentor would do in that situation. This is really where quite a bit of the learning happens. This is a really important step.
  3. Watch your mentor in action. If possible, volunteer in their classroom. Watching a good teacher teach is one of the best ways to learn.
  4. Find out what books your mentor is reading, what workshops and conferences they are going to and how they are learning. Find out what they read and what professional development they did when they were first teaching. Read those books. Go to those conferences.
  5. Acknowledge the differences between your mentor and you. Not everything they do will work for you as you are a different person. Figuring out what will work with some adjustment and what won’t work takes time. Give yourself some time.


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