A mentor is more effective in the long run if they have an initial focus on building a relationship for learning. Yet this relationship is much more than establishing a comfortable climate. It is the dynamic interaction of educators needing to feel safe to think out loud and plan for gathering information about their questions with a professional guide, designed to both support and challenge their thinking. After reading about conditions of effective early childhood education professional mentoring relationships in Chapter 2, respond to the following:
- Describe at least three ways in which partnering with another adult and applying professional skills and knowledge is different from simply building a friendship with a colleague.
- Reflect on figure 2.1 from Chapter 2 and consider patterns that you have observed in any learning partnerships you have been involved in or have observed. Discuss general strengths and challenges in a specific mentoring relationship you have been involved in or have observed.
Supervisors who utilize opportunities to guide teachers decision-making through reflection are engaged in a form of on-the-job mentoring which is an ideal scenario for promoting teacher growth as well as successful program outcomes. This apprenticeship approach is known as reflective supervision. In this discussion, we will apply ideas about ethical leadership, mentoring, and reflective supervision to common early childhood settings in a practical context. Begin by watching the following two-minute video on using reflective supervision as program benefit: Lessons in Leadership: Reflective Supervision (Links to an external site.). After watching this short video and reading Chapter 7, consider a time when you, or someone you know well, took on the duties of managing or leading in an educational or related organization.
In your initial post,
Identify two key skills or competencies (see Table 7.1) that a manager or leaders needs to exhibit in an effective early childhood program and describe why these skills are needed.
Discuss a strength that you have observed in a leader who is/was able to help teachers identify and discuss the vision and direction in which an early childhood program should go.
Describe two factors that contribute to the success of a person serving as a manager or leader in a school that would also contribute to their ability to serve as a successful mentor to teachers.
Answer the following question: What concerns do you have about your ability to fulfill the various roles and responsibilities as a manager who is also a mentor?
Many early childhood programs utilize a team-teaching instructional approach. The purpose is to ensure that students benefit from the variety of valued skills and competencies that each member of the team possess. In this journal, you will reflect on the potential for mentoring to occur in a team-setting as you respond to the scenario below. You are encouraged to identify and use the strengths of each staff member.
Imagine that you and several other early childhood teachers you know are going to become a mentoring team. First, consider and list the knowledge and experience that you bring, both from your lifes journey to date and from your formal education, which might be used to support another early childhood educators professional growth and development. Examples of relevant strengths might be that some people in your group have family and center childcare experience, some speak languages other than English, and others have worked extensively with school-age children or infants. Other valuable knowledge may have been acquired from relevant college courses and degrees or through extensive work with specific curriculums. After compiling these skills, knowledge, and relevant experiences, consider the areas of opportunity. What other skillsets, knowledge, or experiences might be needed to create a mentoring team that reflects and meets the needs of your local early-learning community? Is there a need to recruit additional mentors or what professional development is needed for the existing team?