So, I had to switch days 5 and 6 because day 5 asked me to post pictures of my classroom, which I haven't uploaded to my computer. I will do those tomorrow when it's not 10:00 at night. That said, tonight my question is:
What does a good mentor "do"?
A mentor is a person who can guide another in the right direction. She provides support, and that support can take many forms-- academic, social, emotional, etc... She can see strengths in the person she's mentoring and bring out the best of those strengths, but she can also see the weaknesses and help fill those holes. She knows when to push and when hold on a bit longer. She is honest. This might be the most important trait. Honesty can tell a person when they are in over their head. It can also tell a person when maybe the job choice isn't the right one. A mentor needs to be able to have these conversations because without them, the mentor would be leading the person they are mentoring down the wrong path.
I mentor my students, I guide them through my English class, and I also think (I hope) I give them guidance through their dramatic and complicated (sometimes truly complicated, sometimes teenage complicated) lives.
I also mentor new teachers (well, teacher interns who will be new to the job). This is definitely the harder mentoring job because I have to help prepare new teachers for the workforce. I have to know when to give them a push, or hold on a bit longer. I have to be really honest about their work and their performance. It's such a delicate balance, but it very important work.
Sometimes, I think (I hope), I mentor my co-workers. Maybe not through everything, but through the areas that they might need help in. I know they mentor me. Teaching itself is evolving learning. Every year, every day, really, I evolve as a teacher. By mentoring others, I am learning. By accepting guidance from my peers, I am learn. I live for that stuff. I love to teach, and I love to share it.