For the last few weeks I have had the privilege of mentoring an intern. I see this as a two-way opportunity. Yes, I have the responsibility to supervise, guide & support this beginning teacher. I need to help them build on their existing knowledge & skills in order to test themselves in new & interesting ways. Sounds much like what we do every day with young children, doesn't it?
The flip side is that I am also learning throughout this process. Learning how to be more reflective, seeing things from the perspective of others & also learning about the most recent theories that are driving the practices being taught to student teachers currently. All this will help me become a better professional & thus lead to becoming a more effective mentor for future students & interns.
My intern has had other positive influences during her time with us. The children have truly loved the breath of fresh air she brought to the service, providing new & stimulating experiences such as crushing herbs with a mortar & pestle. She provided support to staff outside her allotted room, showcasing the importance of collegial support across the service. She also enabled parents & families to engage in the process as they asked her questions & discovered how professional networking & support systems such as internships contribute to enhanced services & environments for their children to learn & grow within.
Although mine has only been a bit part in something as important as professional development, I hope it has been as effective as I hope it would be. I have little doubt that my new colleague will be a wonderful educator, confidant, & friend to plenty of children & families for many years to come. If the truth be told, she made my job very easy.