The idea of having or being a Mentor has been discussed for many years, but as a young Profession Early Childhood Educators have been embarking and considering this practice with more intention over the last decade.
This idea of having a critical friend, someone who can hold us up yet also challenge us to dig deeper about our practice is essential to our reflective practice.
This has led to exploring the questions I would of wanted some one to ask me early on in my career.
What is your own goodness of fit? What does this mean to you?
What do you want to know more about?
Where will you find your passion? Your passion for children, families and our profession?
Finally, always be ready and able to consider and answer ” Why am I doing what I am doing?”
As we come to the end of one year and are about to embark on a new year…an certain energy and hope can prevail. Taking advantage of this I thought I would share a blog post that outlines three easy steps to finding a mentor as shared by Marilyn Hewson (2015) on LinkedIn.
The simplicity of this post I think makes the idea of mentoring more tangible and less daunting. Here are the three steps Hewson (2015) outlines:
1. Look for Mentors all around us.It may be that it takes a village of colleagues and guides to create a community of support and cheerleaders. These Mentors may be long term guides or mentors for specific moments.
2. Find a Mentor by earning one. The most successful Mentors may not be assigned.There are some basic tenets to building a trusting relationship that lends itself to a successful mentor relationship.
3. Most importantly, give as much as you receive. The best Mentor relationships are built on shared beliefs and a spirit of reciprocity.
Mentoring is a form of professional learning, so as you set your intentions for 2016 consider your relationships and look for ways to create and support your professional growth through Mentoring!
Early Childhood Program Hosts 9th Annual Mentor Appreciation Night
On Thursday October 29th, 2015, approximately 185 Early Childhood Educators attended an evening of celebration to honour their contribution to the education of our students and to celebrate the field of early childhood education. The event was held in the James Colvin Atrium. Sandra Fieber, Chair of the School of Human Services, welcomed the guests as the child care community also acknowledged those child care centres who participated in the “Raising the Bar” a Quality Child Care Initiative.
As part of the “Quality Child Care Committee” in partnership with the City of London and Fanshawe College the evening was highlighted by some lively conversations about the importance of Appreciation. The event highlighted the connections to our new pedagogical document “How does Learning Happen? and how the four foundations of Belonging, Expression, Engagement, and Well being connect to appreciation.
Members of the Early Childhood Education Faculty and Community Partners donated door prizes and each participant received a Journal to punctuate the message of Appreciation and Reflection.
In a time of tremendous growth and change in the field of Early Childhood Education we are grateful for the support of our child care community and the working committee is already looking forward to our 10th Annual Celebration in 2016!!
Mentoring is not a new concept and for many early childhood educators the idea of reflecting with a trusted colleague or group of peers has become essential to developing reflective practice and pedagogical leaders. What does this look for an educator? The following acronym highlights essential skills:
“Reflective processes can be undertaken in isolation from others, but doing so often leads to a reinforcement of existing views and perceptions. Working in pairs or with a group for which learning is the reason for being can begin to transform perspectives and challenge old patterns of learning. It is only through a give and take with others and by confronting the challenges they pose that critical reflection can be promoted.” (Boud, 2001, p.14-15)
Do you have a critical friend or mentor?
Do you intentionally seek multiple perspectives?
Do you believe you have time to nurture relationships and a reflective stance?
Boud, D. (2001). Using Journal Writing To Enhance Reflective Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 90,9-17.
When moving towards intentional mentoring relationships a good place to start is by creating the culture or climate for Mentoring to occur.
To assist with this structure some create policies, ground rules or agreements to support the success of a mentoring partnership.
In her book Developing Mentoring and Coaching Relationships in Early Care and Education : A Reflective Approach, Marilyn Chu(2014) dedicates the first chapter to understanding the structure and dispositions needed to create learning partnerships.
Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” (Parsloe) In a rapidly changing work environment, the need for continuous learning is growing.
Employers require more and more flexibility, both technical and soft skills along with increasing credentials from their employees; as well employers are looking to workplace learning as a tool for skill development and reflection. In order for employees to navigate this somewhat abstract landscape of workplace learning, one way this learning is taking place is that mentor relationships are occurring among colleagues.
“Mentoring relationships that promote collaborative inquiry, cooperative practice and reflection are fundamental to workplace learning for beginning teachers that moves beyond the transmission of past and existing practice. Collaborative endeavours between schools and universities are also central to effective workplace learning for teachers.” (Carter, p. 260)
This can also be accomplished in a professional learning community, or PLC, which is a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. The term is also applied to schools or teaching faculties that use small-group collaboration as a form of professional development . (Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/professional-learning-community)
Carter, M., & Francis, R. (2001). Mentoring and Beginning Teachers’ Workplace Learning. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 29(3), 249-262. doi:10.1080/13598660120091856