Day 6 of the Reflective Teaching 30 Day Blogging Challenge
Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?
In teaching, I've had several amazing mentors, and some who were not quite as amazing. As I reflect on the aspects of their mentorship that differed, I can come up with certain qualities or tendencies that I appreciated and needed.
1) Listening - each of my amazing mentors has been a fabulous listener, someone I was (or am) comfortable talking to, someone who lets me share my success stories, my funny or touching student stories, provides a sounding board for a lesson or activity idea, or a worry about a student's behaviour or learning needs.
2) Respect - for mentorship to work properly, there must be mutual respect. I need to respect the person whom I'm learning from, and I need to feel that my opinions, experience, and ideas matter. Sometimes, this is what can start a mentorship, and sometimes, a mentorship is put into place and the respect needs to grow, but it's still necessary for it to be there.
3) Time - mentorship takes time and I find this works best for me if I have a scheduled meeting with a mentor to ensure that we both have put aside the time to talk. If not, this can go by the wayside.
4) Patience - mentorship takes patience, on both sides. When you're learning, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to ask a bazillion questions, and you're going to need to have patience with your mentor as they take the time to advise you.
The opportunity to talk to and learn from an experienced teacher, particularly one with which I've got a connection, is amazing and something that I value greatly! A great mentor is a great gift.