Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?
Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?
I’ve never had a mentor. I will have to use my imagination on this one. A good mentor would be someone with experience and passion in your field, and who has chosen to share his or her insights and expertise to the mentee. A good mentor is patient, and reliable. He or she makes time to be a part of the mentee’s initial career take-off. I think a good mentor would also be someone who has a genuine love and passion for teaching, and who wants to engender that spirit in newly trained teachers or instructors. I don’t think a mentor’s role is to tell the newbie what to do, more to listen, to ask questions, and to offer up their own experiences, leaving the newbie to take from the conversation what he or she will.
I think that the relationship can be reciprocal. Newbies often come into the profession with an eagerness and excitement that can fade away as the years pile up. This excitement can be contagious and invigorating. A good mentor should have a decent sense of humour; I often rely on my own as a defense against the cynicism and apathy that can occur in any field over time. I’ve taken on newbies in my classroom who need the hours for their TESL O certification, so in a way, I guess I have been a mentor.
Ah, this blog is known to some of them, so not sure I’d want to inflate anyone’s ego! There are a number of incredibly talented, committed women that I work with, now, and have worked with in the past. I say women, because so few have been men. But there is one male teacher who stands out, and I was fortunate enough to be able to present a Teacher of the Year Award before he retired.
John was inspirational because of who he was. Much of what I said above describing a good mentor also applies to him – wise, passionate, committed, dedicated, good sense of humour, willing to take the time with colleagues and students alike. I actually have inherited his old classroom, so I feel privileged in this regard.
When students speak of him, without fail, they light up, smile, and express how much he is missed. (He has retired). He always went the extra mile for his learners, not because he thought he might get some accolades from his superiors, but because he thought it would benefit the students.