Intern-Mentor Support means growth for allPhilippa Lowe
Taking part in Trinity’s Teacher Internship Programme as an Intern comes with the clear benefit of being paired with a seasoned member of Trinity’s Academic Staff in a mentorship arrangement.
Mentors are available to support Interns as they find their feet in the classroom, offering helpful pieces of feedback, and guiding them through tricky situations.
Ms Norma Kamhieh, Head of English, has been a Mentor in 2023 and has seen how the Internship Programme helps pre-service teachers to grow in myriad ways.
“Trinity Grammar provides opportunities for students to flourish in their subject field, but also to collaborate with colleagues to develop skills in other areas such as Sport and Co-curricular,” she says.
“In particular, coming to a School like Trinity exposes them to both credentials as well as develop their skills from theory into the practical experience of being in a classroom, learning how to manage student behaviours, differentiating the curriculum – so it gives them a real-life authentic experience.”
Mr Kai Ikeuchi, Head of Economics, is also a Mentor who has been involved in the programme for a number of years and agrees that the strength of the programme is in its ability to provide a more practical approach than what theory at university has to offer.
“It allows them to really experience what they don’t get to experience when they’re studying courses at university,” he says, noting that the ‘inexperience’ is not always uniform across the board. “Every teacher that comes in has different levels that they come in at. Some teachers are very confident, some teachers have great classroom management, some teachers have great content knowledge, but require classroom behaviour practice to be a key feature of the internship. In saying that, that’s been really good in seeing the growth.”
For both Ms Kamhieh and Mr Ikeuchi, their involvement in the programme as Mentors has also seen benefits for their own teaching practice.
“I think I’ve become more of an active listener,” Ms Kamhieh reflects. “In my role I try to provide feedback that is constructive; I’m not there just to tell them how great they are in the classroom. It needs to be constructive and to develop goals that the intern could also meet, with myself working alongside.”
“I’ve also learnt to be flexible and to allow them to make mistakes, and in my role as an observer in the class, not to jump in and correct the mistakes but allow them to reflect and develop strategies that could enhance their next lesson.”
Mr Ikeuchi says that it reminds him of the foundations of his teaching practice, taking him back to the basics.
“Being in the field for over a decade or so, I have my own ways of teaching. [Being a Mentor] just allows me to refocus and identify ways to improve even further. So it is that two-way relationship.”
Former Mentor, Ms Katherine Hronopoulos adds to this sentiment.
“I think I gain a lot actually,” she says. “I think that the relationship that you build with your mentee is priceless. It gives me that fresh perspective – university was very different 20 years ago to what it is now! Having the opportunity to develop the interns to be the best that they can, to develop their classroom opportunities and their classroom practice is always a benefit.”
Despite Interns being ‘assigned’ a single Mentor, many former Interns will tell you that they had the benefit of whole departments providing support and guidance.
Mr Spencer Darby, Director of Music at Trinity’s Preparatory School and former Trinity Intern had this experience.
“I was absorbed completely into the Trinity Music department on the Summer Hill campus, so I was not only mentored by more than one experienced staff member, I was mentored by the Head of Department and about five or six other people took a direct interest in my development.”
It’s not unusual for Mentorship programmes to have these kinds of dual benefits and it’s clear from the willingness of staff like Mr Ikeuchi who keep returning to the programme, year after year, that Trinity’s programme is no exception.
Join the Trinity internship programme! Complete an expression of interest and RSVP to attend one of the upcoming information evenings. Click here.