TELLAL Mentor Interview

TELLAL Mentor Interview - Steven Kay

One of the unique supporting tools we offer our students at TELLAL is access to experienced and dedicated mentors.

Each and every one of our mentors is carefully selected to ensure they can provide the right level of guidance and expertise, so that our students can develop their own skills in the best possible way and feel comfortable reaching out for assistance whenever needed.  If you are considering taking one of the courses at TELLAL, it can be useful to get to know the people behind the programmes and get a sense of the type of leaders who could be helping you throughout the process.  That’s why we have started our TELLAL Mentor series, where we sit down with one of our mentors to find out more about them and why they love working with up and coming educators. 

This week we sat down with Steven Kay, who is Head of Year 6 and has been a TELLAL Mentor for one year. 

Hi Steven, thank you so much for answering our questions!  Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Dubai now?

I am originally from Bolton in England and I have lived in Dubai now for 5 years. 

What do you like about living in Dubai?

Obviously the weather (and not paying tax!)… but actually there is a real school community developing here, with top class schools and educators who are willing to share ideas and best practice for continuing development.

What have you found to be the biggest differences between the Dubai educational industry and the one you worked in back in England?

The private aspect of most schools here makes this a different environment, as well as the high demands and expectations from parents.  Overall though, the requirements for outstanding teaching remain the same.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career so far?

I have worked in some very demanding schools that were all very different from each other.  I have had many roles from Head of Maths, Science and Computing to being in charge of performance management, assessment and tasked with improving the schools judgment from the OFSTED inspectors.

So, what made you want to become a TELLAL Mentor?

I had previously mentored 10 students in the UK through PGCEs etc, and it was something I really enjoyed as well as being beneficial to the school. I jumped at the opportunity to play that kind of supportive role again and help those who want to give their best to the future of education. 

What unique skills do you think you bring to being a Mentor?

I have been teaching for nearly 15 years now and this job definitely gets easier with experience, which I feel I have a great deal of.  I am able to make practical suggestions and give advice that I think makes the job easier. My laid-back approach can often be a balm to the pressure that students can face, so that they can feel comfortable sharing their concerns and issues.  I like to team-teach and share best practice so that it helps to make connections between theory and practice

What does being a TELLAL Mentor entail?

Making sure that the pressures of the job do not dissuade what could be a promising teacher from falling at the first hurdle and also making sure that they are given every opportunity to shine in what could be a demanding placement. The Mentor must have a good knowledge of all aspects of the curriculum and understand what constitutes best practice. You definitely need to form a good relationship with the trainee in order to know how and when to move them on in their experiences and practices.

What do you love about being a TELLAL Mentor?

Helping trainees develop and then go on to succeed in their own right is very rewarding.

What have been the biggest challenges as a Mentor?

I would say having to adjust my teaching style and make suggestions which wouldn’t work for me but would for the trainee because they have a different style and personality in the classroom.  This can be difficult, especially when it goes against your individual instincts, but being a good mentor is about helping others find the best solution for them, so that they are able to trust their instincts moving forward.

What was it that got you into education?

The holidays! Actually, I always wanted to be a teacher from a young age, but equally I wanted to work in the private sector first to get experience of the ‘real world’.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Time pressures! So much to do in so little time.  Trying to juggle other responsibilities with making sure the children in the class take priority.

What have been the moments in your career you are most proud of?

Getting really good feedback during an inspection, that is responsible for improving the judgment in a subject, is definitely a real buzz.   But it is mostly the emails and letters I have had off students and parents to tell me the positive impact I have had on their lives and even careers (which is scary since I teach 11 year olds); that is something totally unique to this job and gives you a feeling that money can’t buy.

What do you love most about teaching?

The day to day of teaching never gets tiring because you start from fresh every year with a new class and every class has different personalities and challenges.  The wow moments for the children stick with you and make this job rewarding.

What has your experience of working with TELLAL been like?

Very positive!  They have a great team and excellent systems in place.

If you weren’t in education, what other career path would you have taken?

I always wanted to be a truck driver or an astronaut!  (Maybe there is still time 😉 ?)


Sheryl Lee Rogers
Senior Manager – Digital Professional Learning & Development
TELLAL Mentor Interview
Sheryl is responsible for the design, development and deployment of digital resources and environments that are at the heart of TELLAL’s methodologies.
TELLAL Mentor Interview

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