Recently I was asked if I’d mentor a new computer science teacher. I’ve never met the person, and all communications have been through EMail, but both of us have learned a lot in the process. The teacher drops me an EMail whenever they find themselves stuck with a bit of code and how to explain it coherently, or when a student asks a question and the teacher doesn’t have an immediate answer. (Fortunately, I’ve got EMail running pretty much all the time, and so far I’ve been able to reply within an hour or two.
So, okay, the other teacher profits by having a mentor quasi-near by to ask for opinions, help, or advice. I also profit, because sometimes I learn something myself. Once in a while I’ll get a question that I sort of know the answer, but in researching the problem I learn something new, or perhaps learn that what I thought was correct is wrong (or more often, obsolete!). But even if I don’t need to research answers, I learn something with every question: I learn another point of view from students. No matter how many years I teach I will ALWAYS see new students each semester. When you start taking your own knowledge for granted, you’ll start forgetting how you learned that knowledge. And when I forget what my new students don’t know, I’ll do a poorer job teaching them.
So take the opportunity to mentor someone. You’ll never know what YOU will learn!
COMMENTS FROM theSpoke:
Many people don’t realize what an act of generosity mentorship is. Not everyone is cut out to do it. But, for those who can, it is a very rewarding experience.
I agree. I even have a mentor, one of my teachers.