Since I am only in my fourth year of teaching I haven’t had the opportunity to be a mentor yet, however I have had a couple of mentors. One was during my student teaching experience and the other was a colleague at the first school I worked at.
My mentor from my student teaching experience has actually stayed my mentor ever since. I always go to her with tough questions and she always gives me good advice.
I was her student teacher in 2011. We had in common that teaching was our second career. She is the same age as my mother and has a son the same age as me. Her birthday is right around my mom’s – both Virgos. (Just an interesting fact.) She was great. Right after my experience with her, I interviewed at some places and ended up getting a job offer right away in Virginia. I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, hadn’t planned on it at all, but I talked to my mentor and told her about the school, their immersion program, the technology initiative at the district, and she said she doesn’t know why I wouldn’t take it, sounded great and I could always come back to Pittsburgh in two years when she retired. So I went. It was a great experience. The school had very high standards but was also public, just outside of the city. I learned a lot there because there was actually a way that we had to do things in our department. What I learned there set me up for going to a school where there was more freedom to do what you want and no set way to do things. I am pretty indecisive so having a baseline to work from helped me to know how I would want to do things here.
I met with my mentor two winters ago the year she would retire and she advised me to start applying for her position. I did so from January through that school year. She was helpful by talking to the principal, the WL Director and everyone to tell them that I would be a great fit. I am so thankful for that because I may have never made it back to Pittsburgh if it weren’t for her. I actually got her exact position, preps, classroom, and some leftover materials. Some of my activities from student teaching were even left over from two years before in filing cabinets. It was amazing and I was very lucky to have her on my side routing for me. It was an easier transition than if I were going to a school that I didn’t already know.
Then, with the way things work this year over the summer I was furloughed and someone in the district who had more seniority than me and who’s position had been cut slid into my spot. I interviewed at some other districts, one that is one of the best in the state, but only for a one year long sub. I got an offer at a different school in my district. I knew this school was different and more difficult than where I student taught and taught last year. I consulted with my mentor and asked if I should wait to see about the year long sub in the amazing school district or take this position in a district that I am already a part of. I knew that I needed to stay but wanted her opinion. She thought so too, and I accepted it. So here I am. Not doing my work and blogging about my amazing mentor. I am confident that it was the right decision and who knows, I could end up back where I was last year or maybe by the end of this one, I won’t want to go back. I am sure that if I am faced with that decision I can ask my mentor what she thinks and she will let me know, even though she is retired. Long story short, a good mentor will always give you a good honest opinion that benefits you and your career whether it is about taking a position or about how to teach something.