Mentoring: First Steps
This modeling exercise facilitated practice as a technology mentor. A Y1 teacher prepared a lesson that featured an aspect of the “Maker” movement, and/ or the use of technology in a lesson plan. Prior to teaching the lesson, a meeting was scheduled where I acted as a technology mentor. As I reflect on my role as the mentor, I have been reviewing the personal interactions and structuring of the entire event. I capitalized on my strength to be a supportive and also an evaluative listener. I also needed to organize and synthesize my thoughts, utilizing my own experience as a launching pad. My knowledge about educational technology and specifically a TPACK perspective were essential tools that I used to inform my support for the Y1 teacher. My personal experiences in collaborative learning helped me to successfully communicate as a mentor. Even with a varied educational background, I know that I am still needing improvement in some content areas, and that will always be an area for improvement. Recommendations for use of discipline-specific technology will be a challenge. For example, the Y1 student that I was paired with had a great expertise in Geometry that I lacked.
Utilizing a D.E.S. strategy (describe, evaluate, suggest) strategy proved to be a valuable tool for this model. My Y1 student created a lesson utilizing spaghetti to create triangles. Graph paper was used for measuring. In the evaluation portion of or model, I used the TPACK guidelines as a lens when suggesting additional technology to add: I suggested individual data to a projected chart from student laptops, featuring composite classroom data.I also suggested the addition of an online exit ticket.
During the actual presentation of the lesson, the Y2 mentors played the role of students. A post-teaching reflection time was scheduled where the Y1 student discussed thoughts about how the lesson had been received. Both of my suggestions had been added to the lesson plan. As a mentor, I need to practice encouragement. I commented on the growth of the lesson and the successful implementation of technology in the altered lesson plans. I asked my Y1 student if, after the lesson had been taught, any changes might be considered before the lesson might be given again. The reflection time was valuable to both the Y1 teacher and the Y2 mentor as the modeling activity was helpful to employ the process of collaboration required for a successful technology mentoring relationship.
I found the modeling exercise to be valuable in many ways. This was a very supportive environment where the teacher to be mentored was committed to professional growth. As a first time experience, the modeling in a safe environment was very valuable to me, improving my confidence that I could play this role as a professional where I work.