Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mentoring.... Isn't not just for the new teachers.

Ever have a problem in your classroom and asked a friend for help?  Your friend talks to you for a while, asking you questions for clarification.  Then they give you some suggestions, advice or work with you to make an assignment or help you change your lesson plan.  Congratulations, you just experienced the "mentor - mentee" experience.  

After a discussion with my peers that are just as interested as myself in regards to Peer Mentoring, we agree on many characteristics that make an excellent peer mentor.

Peer Mentors do:
  • learn along with the mentee
  • listen carefully (develop excellent listening skills)
  • encourage
  • empathize
  • support
  • share resources and knowledge
  • give feedback
  • be approachable
  • encourage self-reflection with questions and comments
  • follow up with communication after the experience
  • Keep your confidentiality.

 Peer Mentors don't
  • spread negativity
  • break trust
  • think they are the experts
  • assume anything
  • go in with any pre-conceived notion.
  • and make any assumptions about the situation
If you think about someone that you always went to for help in your first year of teaching, or even now that you've been teaching for a number of years, you could probably see many of the characteristics listed above in that person.  

Most people need help, no matter how many years they've been teaching.  Sometimes you can't see the
forest for the trees, you need to sit back and think, you need time to reflect and another pair of eyes to help you see what you're missing or what you can't see clearly in front of you.  Sometimes you need someone else helping you to reflect and question you on what's really on your mind, what has happened or what you want to happen.  Sometimes you just need to talk in a safe, collegial environment.  That's what mentoring is to me.  Helping people to reflect, and make their own personal learning goals.  That's why peer mentoring is not just for new teachers, it's for everyone.  I encourage everyone to have the experience.  A great support system is there to help you grow, in your professional life as well as your personal life.  If you see my last entry, you'll see that one comment can change the way you teach, only for the better.  Thank you for reading.  That's just my opinion....

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