When I was training to be a teacher, I had a mentor. We met every couple of weeks of so, and she talked to me about the wider issues about being a teacher. Things like internal politics and protocol, and we also had a moan about recalcitrant students. I enjoyed our sessions, and they were really useful. I wish they could have continued throughout my career, but sadly your NQT year is the ONLY year in which you’ll have the time to do anything that isn’t planning / teaching / marking and fending off unreasonable demands on your time.
There is a Facebook group set up for Web Science ‘people’, past and present, and twice recently I’ve had to ask for some help and guidance. Both times, my the responses have been brilliant. Today, I met a really knowledgeable guy – who, when I found out a bit more about him turned out to be a Research Fellow – and his suggestions and advice have made me think very carefully about what I’m doing and how best to go about it.
What I long for is a mentor. I feel so out of my depth, and so short of the background knowledge I need, not to mention having absolutely no idea about a) studying at University, b) studying at University at THIS level, and c) studying for a science-based course, that I’m feel is Penny from The Big Bang Theory is a mental giant by comparison. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s essential that people like me – from a humanities background, who sat her last proper exam thirty-five years ago, who did her degree fifteen years ago and THEN with the Open University – should have someone they can meet regularly and talk about the kind of things that are obvious to everyone else; or just steer you in the right direction. I don’t know. Just to be reassured that you’re doing fine would be nice.
When your own reference points are very few, an overview from someone who has been through it all and can offer a sense of perspective, and some words of encouragement, would mean the world right now.