There are several things I really appreciate about my mentoring teacher. Although she and I may not always see eye to eye, there are quite a few things that she does which I feel are beneficial to my own learning.
First, I appreciate that overall, she is patient. Today, during our planning period, she reviewed the way I chose to grade an assignment. She read the student’s work, assessed that I was grading it a bit too harshly, and gave me some tips on how I can better gauge how a student has performed the task at hand. She even went so far as to correct another student’s assignment with me. After we discussed that, she gave me some ideas for how I might have better conveyed the lesson, since it was evident that I somehow missed something in teaching the lesson. Almost every student didn’t understand or didn’t follow directions, which is a sure sign that they didn’t understand what it was I wanted from them. She gave me some different strategies to try in order to increase student understanding. I appreciated most how she wrote on the board some ways I might have students set up their writing.
Another thing I really appreciate about her is that she is not the least bit bothered by the idea that I might be changing the flow of the classroom with regards to conventions, routines, and daily expectations. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. She is encouraging me to implement my changes in small increments. This way, it won’t be quite as much of a change for students when I am teaching full time. I would like to try going about the way students turn papers in differently. The way she chooses to do it is a bit too chaotic for me, and I need a little more structure and sequence. Also, I would like to post for students a report of how they are doing (much like the one Audrey told us about during Methods in the Fall). I am hoping this will reduce the amount of student questions about grades on a daily basis. While I know she is skeptical about the way I’d like to try (she’s done it before with little success), she’s supportive in letting me try it.
I appreciate most of all the latitude she gives me in letting me teach lessons. She doesn’t just hand me an assignment, and then tell me how to teach it. She gives me the basics of what we need to teach on and then sets me loose to make a lesson myself. Sometimes she gives me guidance about what our objective is in teaching the lesson, or what I may be missing in my interpretation of it, but she never tells me what to do. I really appreciate that. I feel that I need that latitude to learn for myself.
While I know she and I don’t always have the same idea about things, and we are very different people, I can be grateful for several things she says and does. She is generally not effusive in praise, she can be kind of stand-offish, and sometimes I feel like I am not included when we are in meetings with her peers, but the interpersonal communications between us are usually meaningful and I learn every time we talk.