One of the greatest gifts that you can give your mentee is to expose him or her to the reflections or thinking processes you use when you make instructional and classroom management decisions. As a teacher you have multiple options for decision making. Not all of your options are equally effective. Some decisions work well with certain students, groups of students and classes, while others are effective under different circumstances. Thus, thoughtful teacher decision-making is conditional knowledge based on years of experience. Accordingly, it is very important to expose your mentee to why you, the mentor teacher, choose one decision over another. By the same token, before or after your mentee has taught a lesson, it is critical for you to inquire why he or she made a particular classroom decision (*). In a sense, mentoring is about sharing the thinking processes or reflections of the mentee and the mentor. Accordingly, effective mentoring is about giving the mentee (a) permission to articulate how and why he or she makes decisions, and (b) an opportunity to see how and why a seasoned educator makes decisions about the same classroom concerns that he or she is confronting.
On the next blog post we will discuss two different types of reflection, internal and external reflection.
(*)We will identify sample strategic questions that a mentor can pose to a mentee prior to or after teaching a lesson in another blog.