ITT Mentor: Supporting your student to gain their first teaching Job

Why Should a Mentor Help Their ITT Student Find a Teaching Job?

We continue our recruitment and interview tips guide for SEN teachers with a quick guide for supporting your mentee to secure a teaching job. As an ITT mentor, supporting your mentee through the job application and interview process can be challenging, especially when they face repeated rejections. Whilst not technically in your job role your guidance and encouragement will help them secure their first teaching position. This may be in your school or another in your trust. The current teacher recruitment situation means we need good new ECTs more than ever. It is likely they already trust and value your opinion and support. If you are supporting a potential trainee teacher check out this post on the ITT interview process.

Firstly, review their application materials including cover letters and their personal statement. Ensure cover letters are tailored for each school and check for any errors. If they are not getting interviews, the application materials may need strengthening.

Secondly, if they have had interviews but were unsuccessful, request feedback from the schools. Follow up to get specific details on their performance and areas needing improvement. Then, work with your mentee to reflect on their interview skills and preparation.

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Some questions to consider:

  • Did they present themselves professionally throughout the whole interview day?
  • Do they need more practice with interview techniques and providing concrete examples to support their answers? A mock interview could help.
  • Was their interview lesson sufficiently prepared and delivered? How did they interact with students?
  • Are there any presentation or communication skills that need enhancing?

At times, the constant rejection can be disheartening. Encourage your mentee to take a break to refocus on their teaching. Share your own experiences with interviews, both good and bad, to provide perspective. Mentor them to understand that there are many factors outside of their control, and they should not get discouraged. With persistence, the right opportunity will come along. Signing up to a recruitment agency may be a way in, this has the benefit of allowing them to experience a range of different schools, cultures and classes.

Mentor Quote: A mock interview is one of the best ways to build their confidence and prepare them for the real thing.

5 top tips for mentoring a mentee through a teaching interview:

  • Review their application materials thoroughly. Ensure their cover letter, CV, and any other materials are tailored for the specific position. Check for any errors or areas needing improvement. Provide constructive feedback and advice for strengthening their application.
  • Conduct a mock interview. Practice typical teaching interview questions with your mentee. Provide feedback on their responses and interview skills. Look for opportunities to improve their communication style, examples given, body language, etc. A mock interview is one of the best ways to build their confidence and prepare them for the real thing.
  • Discuss their lesson plan in depth. Mentor them through their interview lesson plan with a fine-tooth comb. Make sure the activities are suitable for the students, objectives are clear, and the plan is coherent, engaging and pedagogically sound. Provide suggestions for improvement and ways to anticipate any challenges. Encourage them to adapt a lesson they have taught that you observed.
  • Review their ITT portfolio and interview questions. Ensure they have prepared relevant student work samples and evidence to back up claims they make. Go over common interview questions and provide examples of strong responses. Discuss how they will articulate their teaching strengths, experience, and values.
  • Offer encouragement and help reduce anxiety. Provide your mentee moral support and help build their confidence in their abilities. Help keep them optimistic in the face of rejection or setbacks. Remind them of their strengths and all they have to offer. Suggest they keep away from teaching facebook groups for a while, other ITT’s will be posting their success. They may also start doom-scrolling all the posts about unsuccessful interviews. Neither of these will be good for their mental health.

Offer your support and encouragement. Cheer them on to keep trying and not give up. While the process can be frustrating, mentoring your mentee secure their first position is rewarding. With guidance and perseverance, they will achieve their goal of becoming a teacher.

1 thought on “ITT Mentor: Supporting your student to gain their first teaching Job”

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Typicality & Classroom Routines for New Teachers

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