This semester, as part of my EDTC 400 experience, I had the opportunity to mentor three EDTC 300 students: Kayla, Mackenzie L., and Maytlind. When we were told that we were mentoring the EDTC 300 students, I was shocked and scared. I was shocked because when I was in EDTC 300 I never had a mentor, and I really think that adding the mentoring element is a great idea! I know that there were many things I didn’t know when I started EDTC 300, and having someone there to give me tips would have been awesome. However, I was also excited to be trying out this new project. Despite my excitement, I was also very scared–what if I wasn’t a good mentor to the students? Even though I was tasked to give them advice, I didn’t really know how. Anytime I did I always felt bad–were they going to think that I thought their blogs weren’t good? Because this was never the case, I always thought that they did a great job, but I was afraid that my critiques could be taken the wrong way. Regardless, I was ready for my mentoring experience, so how did I do?
I’m not going to lie about this, I’m going to be upfront about what happened. In the beginning, I felt that I was doing a good job. I checked on the students regularly and made it my goal to comment two times a week at least. But then, one week, I just didn’t. I told myself that it was okay–the next week was February break, I had loads of time to do my homework and do some extra commenting to get myself back on track. Only, I didn’t get back on track. It was a constant cycle of “I can do this another day.” I’m a grade A procrastinator, and my procrastination landed me in a rough spot.
What eventually happened was that I had to comment many times near the end of the semester. It wasn’t very good for my mentees–while I provided some advice for them, it was a little too late. We were already nearing the end and they were essentially done the class. All I can say is that I’m incredibly sorry to my mentees and I wish I had done a better job.
So, obviously the parts I found most challenging was staying in contact with my mentees and posting. However, I found the commenting rewarding, especially when my mentees and I would engage in conversation. The only problem is that the conversation never occurred often–again, this is my own fault for not staying in contact with my mentees. What this experience taught me was that I needed to stop being so lazy–these are students that want to hear from me, that want advice on their posts, and I have to take responsibility for that. It also taught me that being an online teacher is much harder than I could have imagined. I was required to contact my mentees twice a week at minimum and I could barely do that–there’s so much more work that is involved in online classes, and so I give huge props to any online teacher. I think it also taught me the importance of being responsible in general, especially for my future students’ sake. If I fall behind, it’s going to not only hurt me but my students’ in the end.
If you are reading this and you are worried about being a potential mentor, take it from me–do not be like me. Be better than me. Take my experience and provide substantial advice and support to your mentees, they deserve it.
Click here to see my mentoring log.