Mentoring in the workplace can be positive and empowering in helping new staff gain the skills and knowledge required for their new role.

Supporting Educators/Teachers Aides through mentoring

Last year, Giant Steps initiated a pilot mentoring program across the school to support Educators (teachers’ aides). New Educators were given access to experienced Educators in scheduled meetings across the term. An external consultant facilitated training for mentors, who took complete ownership of the Mentoring Program.

For new staff in any workplace it can be very daunting and Giant Steps is no exception. The mentoring program is proving to be very successful in helping new Educators to establish themselves in their role at Giant Steps. As experienced Educators, we are there to listen, support, and give advice if needed, generally there to help the new staff.

One of the key aspects of Mentoring sessions, is that the sessions are confidential professional conversation, where trust in the professional relationship is essential.

Some of the things we talk about range from, “tell me how this last week has been”, or “tell me something great that has happened in the last week”. A new staff member may want to talk about things like, “I saw… doing this and I found it confronting”, to “I want to learn more about GS ”, to “can you help navigate my way around the server”. In all these cases we are there to listen and support, we may say something like “yes it is hard to see that student going through a tough patch, tell me what was going on when this was happening” then we have a chance to break it down and see what they could have done differently or if anything could have been done to change it. Mentoring is a great way for staff to reflect on their work practices, these sessions are providing both the mentors and the mentees with experiences to strengthen their professionalism.

One thing we have talked about in our training sessions is that mentoring can be the building block to start professional dialogues within the work place.

It is very exciting to be part of this program, there are not many schools that have such a large support staff as Giant Steps does, we are seeing some great results. We are still early into this program. With each training session and after talking with the executive team we are learning more about how to be good mentors and seeing the benefits to school and the staff by running this program.

Nicky Waugh
Giant Steps Sydney
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