It’s funny how a few decades in the field, coupled with all of our own educational experiences from pre-K through post-graduate studies, teach us what we know about what matters most in education, for both our youngest of young and our “lifers” who just can’t get enough of learning every single day! The threads of those lessons provide a center for us as we navigate the pages of life, new experiences, and learning. Regardless of what is thrown our way, there are mentors ~ people, experiences, words ~ that shape our goals, our decisions, our actions, and our path. Here’s some of the things my mentors have taught me. And the best part is, I’m certain I’m not finished learning from them!
What My Mentors Have Taught Me
By Julie Wright
- Be kind. People notice.
- Be safe. It’s necessary.
- Work hard. It pays off.
- Have fun. You may live longer.
- There is no such thing in education as a “No Vacancy” sign. There’s always space at the table.
- When others ask for help, the answer is always, “of course”. It will come back to you two-fold.
- When you make a mistake, say you are sorry. It makes a difference.
- Go to museums. Read a good book. Take up a new hobby. Live an enriching life by “feeding” yourself through experiences. It will make you a better teacher and colleague.
- Anyone who works to stand out or get noticed (even if it is in a negative way) is trying to tell you something. Pay attention.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s really that simple.
I recently asked some colleagues to play “tag you are it!” with me. I showed them my What My Mentors Have Taught Me piece, and then TAG…it was their turn so they created one of their own. The company we keep is a reflection of who we are or who we want to be and I am so blessed to be in the company of such incredible family, colleagues, and friends. Take a look!
By Erin May (published with permission)
- Learn their names and something important about them immediately. Like the first day of school. Having this connection will support you as you help them grow into learners.
- If they aren’t getting it, then it’s me, not them who need to try something different. What works for one kid (or 50) may not work for all, and it’s my job to figure out how to help them.
- Praise always works. Always. (this one is sometimes hard to remember when in the thick of it and chaos is reigning down, but I try)
- Kids can do anything. Every year I am amazed at what they show me and how they grow, and how they make me grow as an individual and teacher.
- Have a hobby. You need a break from this work! It’s hard and it will take everything if you let it- find something else that makes you happy and do it. You matter.
- Help others. Other teachers, administrators, kids. Everyone needs help, and some don’t know how to ask for it.
- Be observant. I have found that it is always easier to prevent something than to deal with repercussions.
- Participate. It’s easy to sit back and let everyone else do things- get in there!
- Remember to have fun.
- Smile. It will get past the hardest exteriors at some point.