Day 6: What does a good mentor do?
I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor beginning teachers as they embark on their teaching career. A good mentor is someone who listens, observes, models, and encourages. I can remember back to my first year of teaching, I was teaching grade 1 that year, it must have been early in the school year and the other grade 1 teacher came up to me, and said that she’d be my mentor. Now, I did not know her or her teaching style, or her teaching philosophy, she basically was telling me that she’d mentor me. In my mind, I was like, ummmm, thanks but I’m good.
Being a mentor is about building a relationship with that beginning teacher. I am happy to say that in the 14 years I’ve been teaching, I was lucky enough to have a teaching partner who was a beginning teacher ask me to be their mentor. I was honoured and took it as a compliment. This teacher and I had gotten to know each other and we had many similarities in our teaching style, it was a great match. I was able to help her hone some of her skills, but basically I was a sounding board for her questions or queries. In the end when you’re mentoring you’re not making a carbon copy of yourself, you’re allowing the teacher who are mentoring to become the best they can be.