Throughout the semester, I have worked diligently both on my homework for EDTC 400, and also on mentoring students from the EDTC 300 class. At first, I was uneasy about this task because I was not confident that I had anything to offer the 300 level students. Most of my mentees were older than me and I wouldn’t consider myself to be a “tech-smart” person. After introducing myself to my mentees and commenting on their blogs, I slowly became more comfortable with my task at hand. I began to view the situation as a peer relationship with my mentees where we could learn from each other. I turned it into an opportunity to network with fellow teachers-in-training and discover new resources. One thing that I found difficult was actually providing advice to my mentees. Some of my mentees were not present on their blogs so I feel that my feedback became somewhat repetitive for the ones who did post. With that being said, my mentees who were engaged in the class did a great job of creating their blogs. I did my best to encourage everyone to keep up with their assignments, to ask them engaging questions, and praise their hard work. It was rewarding to see the progress of my mentees and be able to take on a leadership role, which is very beneficial to me since that will be my job in a couple of years. I was also excited to see the final projects of my mentees come together!
As far as teaching an online class goes, the process of mentoring has given me a glimpse of what this might be like. My biggest take-a-way is that it is definitely possible to build relationships and get to know your students, but it requires external work and participation by both the teacher and students. Anyone can take an online class, but it requires the student to be present and engage in the class in order to really learn. I feel that in the few months I spent mentoring that I was able to “get to know” most of my mentees, which has shown me the endless possibilities of how I can get to know my future students when I am in the field teaching. I have struggled in ECS 100 and ECS 300 about feeling like I didn’t really know my students. While I know it is a stronger relationship being with kids full time, I am more confident that I am capable of building bonds with my students, and that I can connect with them online in addition to my in-class relationships. When it comes to actually “teaching,” being a mentor has helped me realize that I need to work on how to effectively give constructive criticism!
All in all, this process turned out to have many teachable moments for me, and I am glad that I had to do something outside of my comfort zone and overcome the unknown to learn more about myself and my peers. My mentoring log helped keep me on track with interacting with my mentees and was also a great tool to stay organized. This assignment is one that I would now feel confident doing if I was in the situation to do so!