VIT podcast – The Inquiry process for early childhood teachers

 

Early childhood teacher mentor Kate Fisher

In this podcast, we spoke to kindergarten teacher Kate Fisher about how she completed her Inquiry process and presented to a panel in order to move to (full) registration.

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Early childhood teacher mentor Keti Ivanoska

After talking to Kate Fisher about her Inquiry process, we also spoke to her mentor, Keti Ivanoska. Keti is Assistant Director and Educational Leader at Good Start Early Learning Centre, with 10 years’ experience in the industry and two years working as a mentor. She has attended four VIT mentor training sessions and has been mentoring Kate for the past year.

Keti spoke about what constituted her role as a mentor with Kate:

It was about being really flexible and working around her and her needs, learning more about her, where she thought she was at and where I could help her to develop. Just getting to know her as a teacher and getting to know areas where I could support her, rather than just me making assumptions about what her knowledge and practice is like. It was about just being quite available to her – she could contact me through different ways, she could visit me at my centre or I could visit her. That was quite good and we were quite flexible in that way. The contact was ongoing and in different ways which was great.

We had quite a good relationship in that she felt comfortable to ask as many questions as she needed to and to let me know which areas she was a bit unsure of. She was quite honest and open about asking questions but she always knew that she could contact me and she felt quite comfortable with the answers. She would often give me a call just to let me know how her inquiry was going and how she felt at the time, whether she was nervous about it or felt quite comfortable about it, filling me in along the way.

Keti has been impressed by Kate’s growth as a teacher:

Kate is someone that I see a lot of potential in, someone that has developed quite quickly in her role. Her knowledge is fantastic and she has that willingness to continue her knowledge and her practice, doing a lot of research. She is very well spoken and very driven. She was a very easy mentee to work with and very passionate as well.

Keti spoke about the importance of making the panel presentation informal:

The panel was just a comfortable and safe space where it was more of a chat than something more formal. She was, of course, nervous going into it so I didn’t want her to feel she needed to stand in front of us and do a presentation – it was more of a sit-down thing where we just had a bit of a chat and pretty much went through everything together. She was able to explain her inquiry with no problems. She was quite confident and did very well. Like I said the setting was comfortable.

What are the benefits of being a mentor - for herself and for Kate?

For myself, I can share my experience with other people and my ideas as well. Being there for someone and just seeing them develop and grow throughout the year - that was a positive for me and that’s something that I’m passionate about.

As for Kate, it was good for her to know that she has someone that she can talk to at any point, someone that has gone through the process, someone that has done kinder teaching as well, someone that she can relate to. Also, it was a benefit for her knowing that she can visit another centre and get more ideas - I could connect her to other people, it wasn’t just about me and her I could direct her to others or other centres, other people that she can network with. I think that was a positive for her.