This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: What role has professional mentoring played in your teaching career?
During my career, I have been the beneficiary of many different individuals–superintendents, principals, board members, and other teachers, who have taken the time to invest in my learning and growth. Most of my mentoring interactions have been informal. Principals have taken the time to answer questions, lead by example, and urge me to seek an advanced degree. Superintendents have modeled communication, trust, and decision-making. Fellow teachers have shared teaching and student engagement ideas.
Mentors were not required, by the state, when I accepted my first teaching position. Nonetheless, I learned from many informal mentors, such as, the principal, teachers, and social workers. I have continued to develop informal mentor relationships with colleagues. At each location, I have been certain to find at least one person from whom I can learn.
I have had one more formal mentoring experience. In my first year, as an administrator, a board member suggested I meet with a retired principal. I accepted the offer, and we met every month to discuss my questions and ideas. It was a very productive experience. Being the only administrator, in a small private school, I had the ability to get access to his 25 years of expertise about student learning and being an administrator.
While I have had one formal mentor relationship, I understand the value in seeking and developing mentor relationships. Additionally, most leadership books suggest formal and informal mentor relationships, because a formal mentor provides security, a listening ear, and inspiration.
Mentor relationships–formal and informal–provide needed support, listening, and suggestions. I suggest everyone have at least two mentor relationships–one where they are the mentee and another where they are the mentor.
Please share your thoughts about thoughts and experiences with mentors–formal and informal. Or let me know your thoughts about my blog. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow.