After that intense semester of learning about mentoring both in theory and in practice (since we were assigned undergraduates to mentor), I have had several moments to reflect on mentoring during the second half of this year: as I received my silver bowl for attending 20 NJCL conventions, as I prepared to graduate from my Master's program this fall, and when Gaylan passed in September. I couldn't have been more thrilled when the Texas Classical Association began a teaching award in memory of Gaylan or more humbled to be the first recipient. I hope that I can help to carry on his legacy of mentoring. Now that I have a bit more time since graduating, I hope to work to help set up mentoring supports and relationships in a variety of ways. We all need to be asking these questions, among others:
In what ways do each of us as teachers, JCL sponsors, coaches, and classicists need mentoring?
How can we set up formal and informal supports for each other?
What organizations can have a part in creating mentoring relationships?
How can we support younger teachers and more veteran teachers through each phase of their careers?
To help continue the conversation, I'm pasting my own personal mentoring credo below. I'd love to hear your thoughts about mentoring as well.
Mentoring Philosophy and CredoMentoring is one of the central foci of my life. Like my teaching philosophy, my mentoring philosophy centers on building relationships. If I am a good match to support a student or fellow teacher who seeks mentoring, I believe it is incumbent on me to do so even if no formal mentoring relationship exits. Part of my role as mentor is to serve as a model for others. I must model a good work ethic and cultural responsiveness; I must model both giving and receiving critical but respectful feedback. However, the most important thing for me to model is mutual respect and valuing of each person for who he or she is and for what he or she has to offer the world.
My philosophy of mentoring is focused on the idea of collaboration. Mentoring relationships must begin with a discussion of the needs and expectations of each member. My preference is to move each mentoring relationship towards collaborative co-mentoring as each mentee becomes ready for that phase. Mentoring relationships exist between two people who both have a great deal to offer, no matter the situation. The mentoring dyads I have been a part of have taught me a great deal and will continue to enrich my life and work. Mentoring should not be a one-sided relationship. If a relationship is built on shared work, learning, and respect, then both parties can benefit fully without issues surrounding power and accountability. - Parva