Friday, October 21, 2016

Mentoring - A Two Way Street


  1. an experienced and trusted adviser.

I’ve been very lucky in having some great mentors throughout my professional career.  They’ve encouraged me, challenged me and have made me a better educator. My mentors are still ones that I look up to and contact on a pretty regular basis for support and questions.  A true mentor is someone that you trust and know will be around for a lifetime.

It was a great honor to be selected as a mentor to a recent graduate from my alma mater, The Ohio State University.  My mentee emailed and shared with me some of her goals and aspirations as a new educator. I am eager to meet with her in person next week.

I am most eager to learn from her though.  Although I am honored that she sought out a mentor and that OSU chose me to work with her, I think I am the one who will benefit the most. A young educator with fresh ideas and exciting goals for the future - the possibilities are endless!  She is eager to be connected and grow in our profession. I think together we can explore so many opportunities.  We have such vast backgrounds and work in such varying environments that the learning opportunities for each other should be astounding!

Here’s to an exciting year of learning and growing!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Yesterday I cried

Yesterday I cried.  Big, deep tears.
In front of a student and his mother.
I couldn’t help it.

It was the end of the day, and I called a meeting together with this student, his mother, a teacher, another Intervention Specialist and an assistant principal. The student is on my caseload and is supposed to graduate in May. He’s failing this class that he needs to graduate - really failing.

As we went through the meeting we discussed ways for him to be successful and some things he needed to improve upon.

The others left the room and the boy, his mother and I remained.  I asked him “Can you do this?”

This 18 year old dropped his head and started crying.  He then fell to his knees, crawled to his mom and fell into her arms and continued to sob.  Mom cried.  I cried.

He called himself “stupid”.
He called himself “slow”.
Then he called himself a “disappointment”.

This student ISN’T a disappointment. This is a student who is going to need extra help and support.  He’s going to need every accommodation on his IEP and then some, but he’s not a disappointment.

When he returned to his seat, we developed a success plan. We made sure that he knew he could and would do this.  I WILL be handing this boy (if he allows me the honor) his diploma in May.


Educators, this could possibly have been avoided.  These unwanted behaviors (listening to music in class, sleeping, etc) were happening all quarter. A phone call home or an earlier meeting may have stopped the behaviors before his grade hit rock bottom.

We need to stop being “afraid” to make these important contacts.  We need to work as a collaborative team if we want our students to succeed. Parents are just like us.  Many of you are parents and would want to know if you needed to intervene. It’s true, we may encounter some parents that place blame on us or some that don’t care, but as educators it’s our responsibility to inform and try to work together as a team. We owe it to our students.

I want to thank my PLN, my #compelledtribe and my mentor who all provided me their thoughts and support as I worked through the idea of grades, phone calls home and communication.  I continue to grow and learn because of all of you!