The memories of novice teachers and stories of their mentors during teaching practice experiences were explored by Ms Rakheeba Bux who graduated with a Bachelor of Education Honours degree summa cum laude.
‘After completing the “Mentoring in Schools” module, I learned that a novice teacher’s professional development could be significantly affected by the type of mentoring support they received during their teaching practice,’ said Bux. ‘My interest grew in understanding this and also how their encounters with their mentors – both positive and negative – play a role in shaping their professional practice.’
She believes that it is fundamental for mentors to understand their influence in a mentee’s professional growth and development. ‘A mentor’s role is far beyond filling in forms as a requirement for assessment purposes.’
In order for novice teacher growth, Bux says there needs to be collaboration between various school stakeholders to provide the teachers with feedback to improve their practical knowledge thus creating positive memories of mentors and mentoring experiences.
‘When we zoom into novice teachers’ experiences of their teaching practice, we understand how important it is for them to receive proper support during their teaching practice because those are the skills and knowledge that they take with them into their classrooms,’ said Bux. ‘By reflecting on memories of being mentored, the positive and negative experiences help shape novice teachers in their everyday practice. The positive memories of being mentored help us learn from the good experiences while the negative memories of being mentored help us to avoid repeating those practices in our classrooms as a teacher or a future mentor.’
Her advice to other students is, ‘Never give up on your dreams – there will be many challenges but the end results are far more rewarding. Every sacrifice you make towards your studies will bring you immense joy once you reach your goal. The sky is the limit and teachers are lifelong learners.’
Bux thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Daisy Pillay for their support and encouragement.
Said Pillay: ‘As an emerging African teacher-researcher, Rakheeba’s passion for spaces of inquiry outside traditional research fields is promising. I wish her well and every success in her educational journey as a transgressive teacher-researcher.’
Bux is completing her Master’s degree in Education in the Teacher Development Studies discipline.