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On Learning To Teach

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The mentoring program sponsored by CETL works on building peer-to-peer relationships between colleagues. In this review, Sharon Olsen (Social & Behavioral Science, Seminole) and Jacqueline Copeland (Mathematics, Gibbs) share the challenges and benefits they encountered as teachers beginning their career at St. Petersburg College.

What does the mentoring program involve for the Mentee? What work or tasks are you expected to do?

Sharon – The mentoring program offered a chance for new faculty to get to know an established faculty member and receive guidance and support as needed.

Jacqueline – Meeting with my Mentor and going over basic department and college information.

What motivated you to want to participate? Had you worked with a mentor yourself?

Sharon – I participated as a new faculty member in the new faculty cohort. I have had numerous mentoring experiences as I have developed my career, both as a mentee and as a mentor. I still work closely with all of my former mentors.

What do you feel a mentor should do? What do you find yourself asking for most?

Sharon – A mentor should support their mentee in numerous ways to support the success of the mentee. I often found myself contacting my mentor for guidance on issues that were new to me. My mentor at SPC still provides valuable support to me even though she is no longer “officially” my mentor.

Jacqueline – Same as what he did – a help and contact person.

What did you feel was your role as the recipient?

Sharon – My role was to find ways to approach my mentor at various times when I needed guidance.

Jacqueline – Ask for help!

What were your expectations of this experience? How did they differ from the reality?

Sharon – I was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor that I had already worked with for some time prior to the assignment, so my expectations were that I would enjoy working with her. Of course, I did enjoy working with her, and our professional relationship grew stronger.

Jacqueline – I was open to trying and seeing how things developed.

What did you see as your greatest strength in this experience? What did you see as your greatest challenge?

Sharon – Strength: connection with another more experienced faculty member. Challenge: Navigating new waters.

Jacqueline – Having a mentor in the dept was a great strength. No challenges.

Thank you, Professors Olsen and Copeland, for sharing your insights into the fun and challenges of mentoring!

What feedback helped you become a better instructor? Share your experience in the comments section below!

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