I have come to the end of a 2-year-long post graduate course at the university. My thesis was about teacher quality and mentor quality – as I keep questioning myself about the whole issue: can I be a good mentor, can I really help trainee teachers if I am not sure I am a good teacher myself?

So, here comes the summary of my thesis:

The main aim of the thesis is to find out what the extent of the relationship between teacher-quality and mentor-quality is. Do the positive elements of teacher-quality and the areas to be developed as a teacher appear when we look at the same person as a mentor?

I consider the examination of the above relationship important, because if we find connection between the quality of the teacher and that of the mentor, we can take steps to improve mentor-quality through the improvement of teacher-quality.

Earlier studies have stated that in order to be a good mentor it is essential to be a professionally excellent teacher, but no research has been performed in order to find out the relationship between teacher- and mentor-quality.

In the present thesis the term “mentor” refers to mentors mentoring trainee-teachers doing their last part of the university training, i.e. the so called “long-term” teaching practice in schools. Therefore the present research was neither extended to mentoring experienced teachers nor to mentoring students.

In the course of the research three mentors were assessed in their roles as teachers. The methods of assessment were the following: interview, teacher questionnaire, student questionnaire, lesson observation. Having considered the findings of the research I compiled a list of questions that were used to interview the three mentors as well as two of their trainees each about the mentoring process.

The research has proved that the elements of teacher-quality reappear at the same person when acting as a mentor, regardless of the fact whether the elements show areas to be developed or are proofs of excellence. My hypothesis, which stated that there is strong relationship between teacher- and mentor-quality, has been verified.

The mentors’ professionalism and knowledge was appreciated both in the role of a teacher and a mentor. If the mentors’ interpretation of classroom situations were adequate in their role as teachers, the interpretation of situations as mentors proved to be adequate as well.

If the mentors in their teacher-role showed wide variety of teaching methods, that variety appeared in mentoring as well when they showed several different ways of self-reflection to the trainee-teachers. At the same time, if a mentor did not give the students the possibility to voice their opinions in the classroom, the same mentor in the mentor-role was only interested in uttering her own ideas and showed no interest in the trainee-teacher’s thoughts.

The research showed that a teacher with emotional-relational problems would not be interested in examining the emotional-relational aspects of teaching during the trainee-teacher’s teaching practice. However, good relationship between the teacher and the students could serve as role model for the trainee-teachers.

As the research has shown strong relationship between teacher- and mentor-quality, the findings could be exploited to improve mentoring, since improvement in the elements of teacher-quality would probably induce change in the aspects of mentor-quality as well. The extent of that change could be revealed by another research.

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