This semester in EDTC 400, I was assigned a number of students in EDTC 300 who I was to be a “mentor” to. I think that the idea is great, and I have heard from past EDTC 400 students that they loved mentoring, but I found it to be quite challenging. At the start of the semester, I kept up with the required four comments per week on my mentee’s blogs. I commented on their learning project blogs, but I found it to be very challenging when I had no knowledge or interest in the topic or activity that they chose. I ended up noticing a pattern in all of my comments and I often felt like they were not genuine, but I also didn’t know how to fix that. I did, however, feel as though my comments were much more genuine on one of my mentee’s blogs. Scott is an EDTC 300 student that I mentored who chose to learn guitar for his learning project. I did the same thing way back in ECMP 355 and I am still very interested and passionate about music. I found that because I had some knowledge about the topic of Scott’s blogs as well as an interest in what he was talking about, I was able to write much more genuine comments as well as actually give advice!
In the last couple of weeks of classes, I stopped commenting on mentees’ blog posts. Between classes being cancelled, not having access to public spaces to study and all of the other stressors that life has to offer right now, I pushed being a mentor to the bottom of my priority list. I also think that part of the reason that I stopped was that I felt insincere when I wrote most of my comments and as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know how to fix that.
Although I think that being a mentor to EDTC 300 students was a valuable experience, I am stuck when thinking about what it taught me about teaching. As a math teacher, the feedback that I give my students is much different than what I was saying in my blog comments. Another major difference is that I am extremely passionate about mathematics and know how to give feedback and advice when it relates to mathematics, but not so much when it’s about knitting.