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Mentoring is Enduring…from Bloom to Blossom

Academics

Co-curricular

Young Adults

By Elaine Guerrazzi | July 22, 2019

Take a minute and watch the video below…I bet you will find meaning in the comments of these students while you are thinking about some of the people who were mentors or role models to you.

A high school classmate reached out this week for help with a project (part of her message is below). I shared her message on my Facebook page and have been thinking about Miss B. and my high school experience all week.  

I NEED YOUR HELP! BLOOMINGTON HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATES AND TEACHERS from all years of 70s, 80s, til 91.

Remember Miss B. (Betty Baumgardner) teacher from P.E.? Well, someone special is going to write a book about her life! She touched so many lives!!

There will be a chapter titled Bloomington High since that is where she dedicated the majority of her life. PLEASE help Miss Diana Chiles (English) and me by writing a few lines of appreciation or any stories about her from class or beyond.

I was a member the Senior Prep Assistant (SPA) program guided by Miss B.  

From high school yearbook

I now see that Miss B and being a SPA was the first step I took on the path of who I am and what I am doing even today by writing my blog.  She was the first person that influenced my personal development.  She was my first mentor.  I stated in my first blog

“Life is a bud that as we grow will bloom BUT how do we cultivate growth so our life blossoms to its fullest potential?  What are the pollinators that make this happen?”  

Serving as a SPA with Miss B. as the advisor I began to evolve and grow.

The term and meaning of ‘mentoring’ comes from ancient Greece, with the word mentoring coming from the Greek word for ‘enduring’.

Although the stories vary a little, around 1500BC King Odysseus was off to fight the Trojan War and needed to entrust the upbringing of his son, Telemachus, to a wise man who would teach and raise the young boy – help him learn what was right and just, be there to listen to his questions and generally, assist him to become a man of value and integrity.  This wise man’s name was ‘Mentor’.

The role of the modern mentor is not remarkably different from Mentor’s role 3500 years ago.

Teachers change lives…through education, inspiration, and guidance.

Miss B. wanted to develop a partnership with each of us.  She worked with us through a teaching strategy incorporating both ‘learning-centered’ (teacher decisions and actions will influence learning) and ‘learner-centered’ (teaching focused on how the individual student learns).  Her belief was that students should take responsibility for their own learning and her role was to aid in developing an active learning environment.  She accomplished this by knowing when to facilitate, guide, direct, coach, support, challenge, collaborate, cooperate, and share in the learning experience and how to incorporate various teaching styles.

Mentoring involves a close, individualized relationship with each student and this relationship develops overtime.  As a mentor Miss B. was a model, a motivator, and a counselor.  Miss B. built a relationship based on openness, trust, respect, encouragement, and constructive comments.  The willingness to learn and share was mutual. 

My time with Miss B. taught me that education can take place outside the traditional teacher-centered classroom environment. The impact of the entire educational setting provides this learning. The most important outcome for me, as a SPA, was an understanding of the educational impact of blending the academic and co-curricular experience.

Below are excerpts from Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning.  This document is a Joint Report by AAHE, ACPA, & NASPA published in 1998 and continues to be cited in current literature as guiding practice between academic and cocurricular collaboration.

Through Miss B.’s work as SPA advisor she was not only contributing to the educational environment at our school; she was preparing us for entry into college and life.

  • Learning is about making and maintaining connections.
  • Learning develops from challenges & opportunities.
  • Learning is an active search for meaning — constructing knowledge rather than passively receiving it.
  • Learning is a cumulative process. 
  • Learning occurs by individuals tied to others as social beings.
  • Learning improves by the educational climate in which it takes place.
  • Learning requires frequent feedback to be sustainable, practice to be nourished, and opportunities to use.
  • Learning requires an effort to transfer knowledge and skills to other circumstances.

This quote must have been written for Miss B.

I expect to pass through this world but once;
any good thing therefore that I can do,
or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature,
the time is now; let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again. 
Stephen Grellet

Questions for your consideration:

What do mentors mean to you?
Who has been/who is your mentor?
In what way have you been a mentor?

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2 thoughts on “Mentoring is Enduring…from Bloom to Blossom

  1. Wow! This is excellent! It’s exactly what Miss B was at BHS! This will be perfect for her book! Thank you Elaine

    1. Thanks Julie. It was nice to look back at my high school years. I had fun going through the high school yearbooks. Brought back a lot of memories. I hope to reconnect with other classmates through my blog/FB page.

      Let me know when the book is finished…I sure would like to have a copy.

      Great to reconnect with you!!!!

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