RTBC Day Six: Teaching Mentors

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Reflective Teaching Blog Challenge – Day Six: What does a good mentor do? Explain.

Regardless of what field you’re working in, everyone should have a mentor. And it doesn’t matter where you are in the span of your work life either. Whether you’re at the beginning or the end of your career, you’re never too old to benefit from the wisdom and experience of someone else!

Good mentors offer everything from direct advice to subtle hints in order to help steer you in the right direction. They share openly and willingly about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the job, and they explain how they’ve responded to all of it over the years. Good mentors keep you from drowning, but also know when you’re strong enough to save yourself. They too have learned from their own mistakes, and they understand the value in that. Good mentors offer words of encouragement and confirmation, along with constructive criticism and tough love. They’ve gone through the same highs and lows as you, so they totally get it when something is cause for celebration and they know how to lift you back up. In sum, a good mentor wears many hats: the puppet master, the shepherd, the storyteller, the teacher, the friend, the party planner, the therapist, the coach, the lifeguard, and more.

Standing at the beginning of (what could be) my teaching career, I am lucky enough to have several mentors in my corner. Some of them carry a lifetime of teaching wisdom while others offer years of general life experience. I am grateful for each and every one of them, and I plan to learn as much from them as I can, for as long as I can!

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