What to Look for in a Mentor for Substitute Teachers

You’ve decided to find a mentor because you are in your first few years as a Substitute Teacher. What should you look for?

  1. They should have experience as a Substitute Teacher. They may be a permanent or retired teacher now, however substitute teaching is a very different job from a permanent teacher and your mentor should have had the experience needed to advise you.
  2. They should be a good teacher. All advice is not equal. You want to be sure that either you know this person or that they come highly recommended. Following the wrong advice can adversely affect your career.
  3. They are willing to commit at least 20 minutes per week to helping you. This could be a once a week chat on the phone or it could be spread out over 5 texts a week. If they are willing to give you more time, that’s great, however when asking someone to be your mentor, be sure they know the time commitment involved.
  4. The more similar they are to you, the more applicable the advice will be. Women have different issues than men in the education field. People of colour also have specific issues. If you have children, this will affect how you do your job e.g. how late you will stay at school. Of course, a good mentor is a good mentor, no matter the gender or colour etc.
  5. Who says you only have to have 1 mentor? If you find two mentors, so much the better!!


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