It may be because I am finishing up 10 years of teaching, but I have started to become sentimental and thankful for everyone who made me into the teacher that I am today. For awhile, I wanted to start with my mentor teacher and hopefully include some advice that will inspire others who are mentor teachers.
My mentor teacher was Rebecca Smith at Fluvanna County High School. We taught Spanish 3 for a semester. I was even luckier because it was a 4×4 block, so I was able to see a whole “year” so to speak in a semester. She was also pregnant, so I was able to finish out the semester with the students too. (And she would always bring me the best breakfast biscuits… but that was a side perk!)
She was such a wonderful mentor teacher because she always made everyone feel important. She would take the time to bond with me and with all of her students. Throughout the whole process, she validated my ideas and she would try them out even though I was still in college, and she had been teaching a long time. I would tell her things that I had noticed, and she would answer all of my questions.
Rebecca inspired me to demonstrate my passions to the students. That semester, we took all of the students on a field trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and to a Spanish restaurant in Richmond. To this day, I remember how excited the students were to try all of the new foods. When we got back, another student declared that she too would major in art history. If I wasn’t already, I was hooked on field trips! At the end of the year, the students all signed a Picasso book for me that is still on my bookshelf to this day.
Finally, she was always innovative and a model of what a good teacher is. She was the one who I first saw use Play-doh in the classroom. She had presented on how to use stations. We would discuss what I had learned and what she had practiced. She was always willing to try something new. She still brings in amazing community members today. She brought in a local Hispanic dance troupe to her school through grants. To this day, I am thankful and remember her amazing guidance as my first mentor teacher.