“I’ve become a better mentor”
“My name is Shiella Ndadziira, and I am a teacher at St Joseph Primary School in Rusape, Zimbabwe. I am also a mentor of student teachers from Marymount Teachers’ College who come on teaching practice at my school. I attended a very fruitful workshop organised by Marymount Teachers’ College, with support from VVOB, for teachers who are mentors for their students whilst they are on teaching practice.
After the workshop, I noticed a lot of changes in my school. Firstly, I, together with two other teachers from my school, organised a staff development workshop for the mentors of my school who could not attend the workshop with Marymount Teachers’ College. The school authorities, including our headmaster, who also attended the workshop, took it upon themselves to see that new student teachers are introduced to the School Development Committee, which never happened before. The student teachers are now attached to mentors and not to classes as used to be the case. Student teachers are now given better incentives and teaching resources.
I started working positively with the student attached to me: we iron out problems amicably and I use college hand-outs to help my mentee with documentation problems and supervision. With the other mentors, we help students to join their co-curricular areas of special interest, for example, those who like cooking join the catering department. In the past, students would just be told which area to join and they were never given much space to do anything in those areas.
Student teachers started showing a positive attitude towards the school as a whole. There are no more complaints from the community about students teachers practicing at our school. Due to the introductions done, good relationships developed between the students and the community. Honestly speaking, some students never had the opportunity to teach during the five terms of their teaching practice. They would get to work with pupils only when the mentor was away. That has since come to an end as there is now change at my school. We now see students as professionals in training.
The workshop was very significant to me. I find it very important to work well with my colleagues from the teachers’ college. There is a good relationship between the college, mentors, the school as a whole and students teachers. I now see the lecturers of Marymount Teachers’ College as my brothers and sisters, not as lecturers to be afraid of any more, as was the case before.”