Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Mentoring and Leadership: A Practical Application for One's Career Path

Academic journal article Journal of Adult Education

Mentoring and Leadership: A Practical Application for One's Career Path

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper explores mentoring and mentorship at the beginning and ending of one's career path and the role of mentoring in the process. It frames the mentoring and leadership discussion using the lens of a first year teacher in a LaSallian elementary school in Browning, Montana, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Topics examined in this paper are garnered around the questions of who are your mentors and of how do they help you. Mentoring is a complex endeavor propelled mainly by love and care. In our examination of mentoring practice, we explore the behaviors, relationships, leadership styles, personality, individual gifts, and learning styles which create the cornerstone of the formation of mentoring. Mentoring begins and ends with exploring and validating each individual's gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control, whereby mentors provide presence, encouragement and accountability for the journey.

Introduction

Anthony DeMello's (1995) book, The Way to Love, suggests that gaining authentic perspective of one's attachments, beliefs and value systems is a foundation for career development, personal development and spiritual development. We are always in the midst of change whether we admit it or not. We can choose to live our lives in love or fear. Opening or closing up a career path, relationship, or experience offers a new chapter in one's life. We need mentors along the way to help us with each change, each evolution. The question we ask is "who are your mentors and how do they help you?" This paper explores mentorship at the beginning and ending of one's career path and the role of mentoring in the process. It frames the mentoring and leadership discussion using the lens of a first year teacher in a LaSallian elementary school in Browning, Montana.

Mentoring and Formation of New Teachers in the LaSallian Tradition

Lasallian formation and instruction is built on four pillars: faith, compassion, prayer, and action. The Lasallian structure for teaching and learning, formation and mentoring is superior to many others that Laughlin has observed over his career as an educator. The Formation of New Teachers-A Companion on the Lasallian Journey, written by Brother Frederick C. Mueller (2008), offers substantial foundations and qualities that impact good mentoring, formation instruction, and methodology. These concepts have application when one first steps in and when one steps out of teaching or any other profession. In-service training of education professionals based on the solid ideas in this monograph could be a component of the mentor teacher's portfolio. Gaining expertise in one or more of the Conduct of Christian Schools as a foundation in their own teaching could benefit all learners. The Lasallian axioms, qualities, and virtues are a leaven for others and all communities served. Their key is to create a scaffold of knowledge to connect the new knowledge to what has already been learned.

Transitions in life require us all to embrace the concept of "metanoia," or turning around to look at where we have been and then looking forward to where we can be. There is liminal space in between. Who we talk with, who we trust, and who we are influenced by are key during liminal periods. This is a time for growth, transformation, and an introspective look at our individual gifts in light of being and doing for the rest of our lives. In mentoring practice, behaviors, relationships, leadership, personality and learning styles are examined in light of individual gifts. Achieving balance in light of desires, delusions and reality is a good goal. By exploring using the lens of the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control mentors give presence, encouragement and accountability for the journey.

Holly Moore is presently being mentored by her principal at De LaS alle Blackfeet School in Browning (DLSBS) and by various teachers at DLSBS in her role as a 5th grade teacher. …

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