The role of a mentor?

Honestly, I’m pretty stumped by this one.  I’m on Day 6 of the Reflective Teacher Blogging Challenge and not the least embarrassed to be caught with a blank look.

I’m considering my role as site admin and boy, does a mentor sound good to me!  It’s the start of year four, and I haven’t had a mentor, formal or informal since I moved from teacher to admin.  It sounds so strange to hear it out loud.  No mentor.

That is not to say I don’t have people who I look to as mentor.  But those folks, I have to seek out, share my need, ask for assistance.  Which, of course, they offer with love and care and thoughtfulness…. but someone I turn to regularly, expecting my call, checking in… that’s a void.

I think part of the issue was my experience in the district, at my own site for so many years.  I just changed offices and no one really thought of me as ‘new’ in the traditional sense.  And the transition from Room D2 to front office was smooth.  Not even sure if this was past practice in our district.  At any rate….

What would I have my imaginary mentor do or be for me?

  • A listening ear.  Sometimes I don’t need the answers, I just need to talk out loud and come to it myself.
  • A critical eye.  If I’m heading down a dangerous path, if I’m not following my own vision and philosophy, if my motives are not aligned with students… tell me.  Question me.
  • A kind heart.  This job is hard.  And sometimes I cry.  I bought myself a t-shirt which I’ve yet to wear.  Bright pink, verging on neon.  Front: PRINCIPAL Back: Because Superwoman isn’t an actual job title.  <smile>  I’m hard on myself, trying to be Superwoman.  And I fail.  So be kind, mentor, when kindness and love are needed.
  • A healthy sense of humor.  It’s a funny job.  We’re dealing with the public here and I, more than a few times, think I’ve just experienced an hilarious chapter to a book I will write one day.  Laugh with me.  Heck, laugh at me.  There’s nothing more cathartic than a big, belly laugh.
  • A mind for balance.  Tell me to go home.  Tell me That can wait.  Tell me to take a day off.  Tell me You know you’ve got a deadline here.  Best shut your door and get to it.  I’m getting better at this, but year 1 and year 2 were crazed.

So where is this imaginary mentor?  Currently, it’s right here in the blog where I roll around new and old ideas.  It’s among my elementary admin colleagues who I work, laugh and play with.  My mentor is our staff, who look out for me, notice when I’m stressed, tired or needing a hug.  It’s on Twitter and Voxer where colleagues near and far share their successes, challenges and those yet unwritten chapters.

And so it works.  Not one mentor but many, many influences, inspirations and guides.  So lucky.

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