chapter  4
14 Pages

Developing a mentor–mentee relationship

WithRachel Roberts

This chapter explores the role of the mentor and the specific aspect of being an English mentor. The relationship between mentor and trainee, which is not a straightforward one, will be explored and ways of setting expectations and boundaries covered. M. Izadinia researched the metaphors that mentors and mentees used to describe their relationships. Many were categorised as parent–child or teacher–student, which indicates a clear hierarchy. The mentor’s role has a number of different facets: role model; guide; provider of assistance; developer of reflective practice; emotional supporter. A significant part of mentoring might be described as a kind of affective practice–that is, a way of understanding and using emotions as part of professional interpersonal relationships. As mentors moved more towards understanding their role as ‘teacher of teaching’, rather than as supervisor or assessor, their professional identity shifted. The key to developing a productive mentor–trainee relationship is finding common ground and setting and adhering to expectations.