As I write this, I am thinking of words of encouragement to pass along to one of the teachers I mentor. I’m not sure how this happened. But along the way, some teachers started referring to me as their mentor. These weeks leading up to winter break have been stressful for some of my mentees. I don’t have the answers, nor should I give them. When you start giving people answers, you might get blamed if it doesn’t work out.
What I do is listen. Many times teachers just need to vent and get it off of their chest so they don’t blow up at students or snap at a colleague. Other times, teachers need a thought partner to troubleshoot a problem. This is when I really miss coaching teachers. Some people who consider me their mentor are people I used to coach. I just want to get in their classrooms and help, but I can’t. Now, I talk out ideas and check in later. Other times, I talk people off the ledge. A couple teachers told me they want to walk away from the profession. They know I get it because I was standing on that ledge this summer. I turned down every job I was offered except the job I have now. I’m glad I didn’t turn this job down because I love it and my school.
If you are a teacher who is struggling, please hold on. There are only a few more days until break. Reach out to someone. It doesn’t have to be another educator. If you are a teacher and you are doing okay (despite the normal student mischief at this time), try to help out a colleague. That act of kindness could be the only bright spot in that person’s day.
Let me get off of here because I’ve got a teacher to encourage. Until next Monday!