I've been thinking a lot about mentors and blogs. I hope to get something started on two levels.
LEVEL ONELast year I had one classroom blog; Pre-Cal 40S. This year I will have a total of six. Three begin tomorrow (here, here, and here) one of which will last all year. Another three new ones begin in February.
I had asked last year's grade 12 class if any of them would be interested in being mentors for the new classes of students beginning now. A few of them said yes. I'll email them this weekend to see if they are still interested and ask them to begin the mentorship process. Assuming they say yes, I'm wondering what kind of guidance would be appropriate to give them as mentors. I know one of the guidelines I'll give them is: "Give as much as you are comfortably able. You'll get at least as much as you give."
This article helped to give my musing some focus. Adapted for the context of former students mentoring new students ....
1. Mentor-protege relationships grow out of voluntary interaction.
2. The mentor-protege relationship has a life cycle: introduction; mutual trust-building; teaching of risk-taking, communication, and study skills; transfer of educational confidence; and dissolution.
3. People become mentors to pass down information to the next generation.
4. Mentors encourage proteges in setting and attaining short- and long-term goals.
5. Mentors guide academically and personally. Mentors teach proteges skills necessary to survive high school and promote advancement to post secondary education.
6. Mentors protect proteges from major mistakes by sharing their own past experiences.
7. Mentors provide opportunities for proteges to observe and participate in their learning.
8. Mentors are role models.
9. Mentors support proteges academically and personally.
10. Mentor-protege relationships end amiably.
Some of the questions I need answers to: [please take a crack at any or all of them ;-)]
- »Is this list sufficient guidance to answer the question I know they'll ask: "What does a blog mentor do?"
- »How do they do #7? Should it be deleted making this a Top 9 List?
- »How often should a mentor post?
- »What should they post?
LEVEL TWOAs the department head, I've made it standard practice for all teachers teaching the same course to follow the same sequence of units to make it easier for us to support each other by sharing materials and create opportunities for us to discuss pedagogy in a common context.
Three of us in my department are teaching Pre-Cal 20S (grade 10) and Pre-Cal 30S (grade 11). We've already decided that we will have a common Go For Gold assignment twice over the course of the semester. We've also agreed to call the Pre-Cal 20S and 30S blogs ours as opposed to mine. If nothing else, they can let their students know about the blogs as resources and keep themselves arms length from getting more intimately involved. But I don't think they're going to do that. They are both enthusiastic about trying out this technology together; I'll mentor them through it. They can go at whatever pace they are comfortable with. We've got all of our names linked in the blog sidebars and they each have administrative access. I'm really excited about this collaboration. One of my colleagues met with me for about 30 minutes for a quick introduction to how to login and make posts and how to invite students to be contributors to the blogs. We're going to have an awfully long list of contributors; which I think is great! This is going to be an exciting semester. I'm going to enjoy watching it unfold.