Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?
In an article written by Penny Loretto for About.Com’s Internship website, these are the top ten qualities of a good mentor:
- Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise.
- Demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model.
- Takes a personal interest in the mentoring relationship.
- Exhibits enthusiasm in the field.
- Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.
- Provides guidance and constructive feedback.
- Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.
- Sets and meets ongoing personal and professional goals.
- Values the opinions and initiatives of others.
- Motivates others by setting a good example.
I believe that this is a comprehensive list of the qualities that I wish to embody as both a teacher to my students and as a department chair to my colleagues. My department consists of very strong teachers, but there are two first-year teachers whom I have been paired up with through our county’s official mentoring program. When I switch between teaching and mentoring roles, I realize that there really is no differentiation necessary. All ten of these qualities are pertinent to both positions.
If I were to perform a self assessment of my abilities to perform these aspects of mentorship, I would say that my strongest attribute would be exhibiting enthusiasm in my field. I am a curriculum junky, I love to read and learn, and I am more than enthusiastic about sharing these passions with both my colleagues and students. The area of mentorship that I need to improve upon would be in providing guidance and constructive feedback. As a teacher, this is not difficult, but I want to be able to carve out more time to work with my students one-on-one. This is an on-going issue with all teachers because there never seems to be enough time in the class period to address everyone’s needs, especially on an individual basis. The same is true when working as a mentor to a colleague. We all are extremely busy and our planning time is so precious. I am thankful that I have never been refused by a colleague when I setup a meeting for our reflections.