6.2.2 For the mentor

Mentoring is a mutual learning relationship. If it works well the mentor finds the experience rewarding by exploring new ideas and ways of working and getting a chance to reflect on their own practice.

The following comments were gathered from a mentoring feedback exercise.

"It was useful to both of us. Often it was more of a discussion of issues and problems which enabled both of us to clarify them rather than a one-way advice-giving relationship."

"It has helped me to articulate assumptions about the nature of the work and to re-examine them."

"Meeting a new fellow-tutor can generate new ideas even with an 'old lag' like myself!"

"I enjoy the contact we had – the opportunity for part-time staff to assist one another in the OU is not always present and this system allows that to happen."

In this video, Mary and Diane discuss the role of a tutor mentor and what is expected of them.

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So come back to Mary to think about-- you've mentioned that you've mentored quite a few different Open University colleagues over the years. And generally, you find it a positive experience. Why have you enjoyed being a mentor in these contexts?
Yes, I found it quite rewarding to help new colleagues, such as Vicky, although Vicky herself hasn't needed as much support as other people have. With other previous mentees who are brand new to the Open University, I've had to provide a bit more help and guidance. If you're new to the OU, it can be a bit baffling initially trying to navigate your way around the online systems.
Obviously, each module has its own sort of web sites. But there's other resources too, like the library, understanding the rules, things like how do you go about marking. The electronic TMA system can be a bit baffling the first time around too. And also, maybe if you've got an issue perhaps with your computer, a lot of modules need computer resources. I can't always maybe help with that, but I can usually point you in the right direction of where to go and who to contact. And obviously, that can be quite important when you're new.
There's also a lot of other supports so it's not an onerous role if you're a mentor. There's a lot of other people too who can help. In the TT 284 module we both teach on, our staff tutor is very supportive. He provides sample comments to use in assessments. That can be a problem at the start, trying to work out what to say when you're marking. And we have also tutor forums, and they're very valuable too. So you can get a lot of support from other tutors.
So there's a lot of support out there, not just from the mentors themselves.
Thanks very much. It's good to know that it's not that onerous a task, that you're sharing the responsibility for the new tutor with a wider community of people who have different parts, and different roles to play. And interesting that you mentioned the staff tutor, which is the line manager of the associate lecturers and the part they play in support.
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6.2.1 Tutor mentoring

6.2.3 For the mentee