Reflective Teaching – Day 7

Te@chThought‘s Day 7 challenge is “Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?

My most inspirational colleague is one of the first teachers that I met when I made the move to Middle School years ago. She is a dynamo!

Ever-positive, brimming with enthusiasm, humour, laughter and joy, she brought cheer to everyones’ day. Her laughter was infectious, and could be heard from any place in the building! She howled with laughter regularly – often all day! She brought such energy and spirit to our building and could be counted on to create FUN anywhere she went.

Her role in our school was as a learning support teacher. She brought such a unique approach to how she designed her program. Her classroom looked more like a family room – welcoming couches, soft and variable lighting, alternate work spaces, visible evidence of student ownership of the space, and lots of choice.

This amazing colleague listened deeply to students’ and teachers’ needs. She had an inexhaustible wealth of ideas, a desire to share, and she engaged in caring follow-up. I was constantly amazed by her calm and mindful presence in the midst of a crisis. She could maintain a critical, clear perspective through any situation! Whenever I felt flustered she would offer immediate clarity.

This outstanding educator is a mentor in our district. She gathers colleagues together to share ideas, discuss pedagogy, gather momentum, and grow supportive networks. She takes risks and is willing to support new friends in their endeavours in teaching.

I have felt profoundly lucky to know this incredible educator. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She gently nudges me out of my comfort zone. She says “yes” whenever I want to try a new direction in teaching. She invites me on grand adventures in learning and introduces me to ideas and experiences to help me inform my practice. And, she laughs. All the time!

Some of the memories and lessons I carry with me:

  • balance is important
  • listen
  • pause before you respond
  • laugh often – life is fun!
  • if you can help, do it
  • learn constantly, and know that it is ok to be learning. You don’t have to be perfect immediately
  • share incessantly
  • be inviting
  • don’t judge
  • say yes to beautiful shoes
  • be generous with your joy, contribute positivity

 

Reflective Teaching – Day 6

Te@chthought‘s Day 6 challenge is “Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?”

I’d like to answer this question in terms of what characteristics I would like to have in a mentor. 

My ideal mentor is someone who is:

  • Open: open-minded, open-armed, willing to try new things or consider new things, and open to questions
  • Creative: a divergent thinker who enjoys a challenge
  • Able to know when to say “no”: Balance is important in life, and I need reminded not to take everything on. To be happy and healthy means keeping family as a priority and making time for rest, relaxation, and pursuing leisure activities.
  • Growth-oriented: I’d like a mentor who is able to discuss their own areas of strength and development openly and guide me in learning and improving in areas that I would like to focus on
  • Connected: leverages the power of their own PLN to extend my voice and help me network when I am trying to solve problems
  • A Life-Long Learner: I don’t need my mentor to have all of the answers. My favourite way to learn is through story and conversation. I’d like to work with a mentor who enjoys uncovering solutions together.
  • Patient: looks forward to working together, and is fully engaged when working with someone.
  • Has a “Big-Picture” View: plans with the end-in-mind and does not sweat the small stuff
  • Passionate: a mentor should truly LOVE their profession and inspire the same positivity, curiosity, and engagement in the people they work with.
  • Joyful: this job is FUN! I want a mentor who values play and makes happiness a priority.