I still see Regina standing on the stairs on the first day of school, her hair cropped close to her ears. “My new teacher-do,” she laughs as she flips her fingers through the tangle of curls. “How will I become the teacher I want and need to be?” Her simple question catches in my throat. I carry the weight of what I have been named—her mentor. Mentor to Regina with all her hopefulness, anxiety, uncertainty, and joy. “What now?” I ask myself. I ask you.
Let’s spend the day grappling with what it means to mentor and to be mentored. What qualities, what types of advice and feedback, what venues and structures offer meaningful and generative support? How might we create ways to mentor each other? Meg Davis, who has been a mentor in CPET’s New Teacher Network, Paige, and I will facilitate a variety of inquiries/simulations into the questions above, as well as other aspects of mentoring related to (1) effective communication; (2) aligning expectations; (3) culturally responsive and sustaining mentorship; (4) grappling with the unexpected; (6) and other sites/concerns of yours.
Come hungry—a light breakfast spiced with conversations about your hopes, desires, and questions; a lunch offering time to think through how to care for yourself, your mentees, and each other; and a happy hour to end your day in hope and anticipation of this new school year to come.
This course is open to Early Career Fellowship mentors.
MENTORSHIP & SCHOOL LEADERSHIP
Ruth Vinz is the Morse Endowed Professor in Teacher Education and English Education and is founding director of the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers (CPET) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ruth taught high school English and humanities courses for twenty-three years where she came to understand teaching and learning as restless cartography, a journey with students through landscapes filled with possibility, promise, and poignancy. In her thirty-two years at Teachers College, she continues to learn with others through various collaborative projects in the network of schools that are part of CPET's initiatives. Vinz is the author of seventeen books and numerous articles, written over the fifty-four years of her teaching career. She suggests that her writing is intended as an invitation to others and a reminder to herself of the need to continuously move beyond familiar boundaries of what seems clear and to (re)cognize that teachers are always in-the-making, always becoming through a process of noticing, learning, un-learning, questioning, trusting, and revising ourselves anew.