Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?
A good mentor is a sounding board, they are there to listen when you need help. A good mentor volunteers their time to help you when you need it. A good mentor shares not only their success stories but also their struggles and failures. A good mentor is willing to learn from their mentee.
I had a mentor my first year of teaching, back then in my state it was only required for one year. I observed her in class and she observed me, we talked about what had happened in our rooms. She was always there for me when I needed suggestions or just to vent.
I have also served as a mentor for both first and second year teachers. I tried to do all of the things my mentor did for me, also as I had been out of school for several years by that point I took it as an opportunity to learn from someone fresh out of school. My mentees had new knowledge, newer skills and I enjoyed observing and learning from them. As I worked with both a first and second year teacher at the same time we met as a team, we also worked with the same students so I think we became closer and worked together more smoothly than I have worked with colleagues at other times.
My current position does not have a mentoring program, however I have been in contact with several of the new Technology CAs in my district, answering questions and sharing ideas with them. I know how overwhelmed I was when I started this position and I had taught for 10 years previously. Some of the new TCAs have little to no teaching experience and at our training meeting they look like a deer in headlights, the same look I’m sure appeared on my face two years ago when I started. I’m just trying to be there for them, an unofficial mentor.