Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 05 Mar 2009

My school mentor is always criticising me and talking to me as if Iím an idiot. What can I do?

Hillary's Advice

As a newly qualified teacher you will be in the middle of your year under an induction tutor, which you will need to complete successfully in order to teach in England. And it is not uncommon for this delicate relationship to go wrong, although your problems sound particularly bad.

Your tutor should be supporting and helping you, not undermining and criticising you, so if this is what is happening you must take action. But remember, you are a professional now, who deals with problems in a professional way. Whining and moaning to colleagues is neither a good or productive way forward.

First of all, check in with yourself that the situation really is as bad as you say. Newly qualified teachers can feel very vulnerable and over-sensitive, and it could just be that you are reading more into your tutorís unfortunate manner than is there. If you are feeling brave, try and speak to your tutor about how you see things and ask if the two of you can sort these problems out. If you donít think you can do this, ask to see your head. Make a note of precise instances that have upset you. Be quiet, calm and reasonable as you explain them, and if you are scared that this may bounce back on you remember that you have a right to expect a certain standard of help and support from your tutor, who may have well have received specialist training in how to provide it. New, young teachers are often scared that complaining will harm their careers, but showing that you expect high standards should not reflect badly on you.