Recently we asked you to share with us the one piece of advice or lesson learnt from a mentor that has influenced your teaching the most. In the second of our articles on mentoring, we focus on leadership advice. There are some great words of wisdom here, we hope that one or two of them strike a chord with you, and help you in your roles as educational leaders.

  • The best example of leadership, is leadership by example.
  • The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
  • You must give your staff what you expect them to give to children.
  • Catch people doing the right thing. This applies to staff as much as it does to children. The more you notice and comment on the positive, the more positive you will see. It’s also a nice way to live – looking for the best in everyone, then acknowledging and being grateful for it.
  • Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.
  • “On one of my practicums my supervising teacher told me that the day he will retire is the day that he did not learn something about the children, the teaching profession or himself as a teacher.”
  • Leave room for the individual to add their ideas, knowledge and experience. Support them in such a way that they stay true to themselves. Essentially mentoring should be helping others become better versions of themselves and reach their full potential.


  • Keep having pedagogical discussions, keep challenging your world view and most of all, be critical and reflective.
  • To be a great mentor you have to a great listener and be an effective questioner to deepen your mentees potential.
  • The key to success is RESPECT. Respect for the children, the families, the centre and your fellow educators. Everything else will flow from this. Great relationships create opportunities for meaningful engagement which creates opportunities for fun and learning in a collaborative environment.
  • Always be open and approachable to everyone.
  • Respect in leadership comes from practice, a job title does not equal respect, you must earn it. The bigger your baptism of fire, the better you will be.
  • Take five to ten minutes each day to reflect on your day.
  • Be remarkable! Take pride in successes but stay humble. Work on those areas of improvement you’ve held off, and practice until you’ve mastered your challenge!
  • Mentor the parents, your colleagues, peers and even teachers and management through role modeling good practices, support and respect. Always aim for personal development with an open mind and heart.
  • Back yourself with research, reasons, stakeholder input, the why, the gain and the outcomes. Don’t just throw out an idea and expect everyone to agree and then get disgruntled if it doesn’t happen. If it still doesn’t happen, review, re-evaluate and re-learn.
  • Success isn’t what you have accomplished in your life, but what you have inspired others to do.

Managers tell, leaders do!

  • Never assume that people know what you know or understand.
  • You won’t make everybody happy all the time and sometimes you need to be the leader and make the final call. But do your best, listen well and try to find a compromise. The best solution for all.

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  • Always stay humble. When your team succeeds, you stand behind them and celebrate their success. When your team makes a mistake, you go to the front and assume responsibility. Then look for ways WITH them to succeed. This has shaped my thinking and is something I try to always put into practice.
  • Have patient confidence in others. “Over the course of my career as an EC practitioner, I have slowly developed a range of skills and knowledge, but it wasn’t until my current director had complete faith in my abilities that I began to gain confidence and the ability to challenge myself.”
  • Don’t stress the small stuff.
  • If you have a strong philosophy, passion and vision you will bring a team together. You will then all work together to create excellent teaching practice.
  • If every day you inspire growth, then every day you succeed!
  • Be a role model and improve standards by not walking past a less than satisfactory situation. Instead take action to improve it.


The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.



Posted by Sonya McIntyre

Sonya was born in Lower Hutt and went to Rata Street Kindergarten and Petone Kindergarten. A qualified ECE, she studied at Victoria University in Wellington and has worked with home-based educators, in community-based childcare and in kindergarten. With childhood memories of reading books and writing stories, combined with her passion for all things social media, Sonya segued into her role with us at Storypark as social media manager.

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One Comment

  1. Mahalakshmi Chivukula November 19, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Thoughtful and an informative article!


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