I had been thinking about writing a post on “mentor/mentorship/coaching when I came across this post from @DianeKashin1 She writes about mentors and leadership in Early Childhood Education and I found it so insightful. Understanding mentors and coaching can be a little confusing, however I look at both roles as “helping me become the best I can be in my field.” Wherever we are in our learning, others have paved the way and have much to offer us. When we’re open to listening, asking questions, observing and “trying out” our theories & hypothesis, we can use our classroom as a canvas. Looking at a canvas as a metaphor resonates with me, as I look back at artists over time, reworking their canvas numerous times. In my mind’s eye I see them lean back and observe, reflect where light serves best as they put the finishing touches on their work. And I look back at my classrooms and students throughout the years and reflect on those who’ve guided my academic journey. I don’t remember using the term “mentors” or “coaches” in the 1970’s or 1980’s when I first started teaching and getting my degree in education. But I remember all the wonderful educators who had such faith in me and went that extra mile to observe, comment and give me time and space to find my footing as I wrote here
That one on one connection built on a trusting relationship can never be replaced; bouncing off ideas and questions. And there is your mentor or coach to help you look at you and your practices. Sitting and chatting openly to understand where you are and where you want to go, is right there!
However not every educator or school has mentors or coaches. Nor is everyone comfortable sharing their vulnerability. In a world of online learning, social media outlets that are available day and night, we can start to look at mentors and coaches a bit differently. You build a PLN at your finger tips, you ask questions, you read blogs, you join webinars, Twitter chats and book club chats, and Facebook groups and in a short time you have resources and guidance. New ideas spring up, new questions and your classroom canvas becomes a place to reach for the stars.
Do you have mentors or coaches at your school? How do you work with them? How are they assigned? How do you utilize social media to help you with your learning?