July 24, 2022: Mentoring Helps the Mentor Too
I just spent this last week as part of our county’s Great Beginnings Team of facilitators. This is a week in which the teachers who are new and joining our profession and our county, go through two days of orientation sessions. These new teachers leave our sessions with an understanding of our county, an overview of professional expectations and the two-year induction program they will be completing, and most important, mentors! They leave with the knowledge that there are veteran teachers that they can reach out to with both big and small questions. They leave having made connections.
While mentors and mentoring is critical for someone new to their profession, I also believe that being a mentor is good for the mentors! I am not only lucky enough to take on the role of mentor to new teachers joining our profession, but as a writer, I am often in informal-mentor positions, as newer writers sometimes seek out my advice or insight as they deal with the many different aspects of being an author.
While it may be some additional work and take some precious time, there are so many benefits to being that mentor.
- It keeps us fresh, as we need to stay current on ever changing trends and research within our field, in order to effectively help our mentee.
- It keeps us humble. There is much we do not know and admitting that to our mentee, and saying, “Let’s find out together” can be refreshing.
- It keeps us curious. Mentees ask great questions and help to remind us that we are all lifelong learners.
- It keeps us enthusiastic. Working with those who are new to the profession can remind us of the newbee we once were. Seeing their enthusiasm can feed our own passion.
Mentors can be formal, in the sense that many professions have organized systems in place to set up and nurture those kinds of relationships. Other mentor/mentee relationships may be very informal. Mentors can also be important when we take on other kinds of new roles in our lives, like being a new mother, or suddenly being a full-time care-giver for an elderly parent. Reaching out to those who have experience can be good for everyone, including the mentor.