I consider myself very fortunate to have found good mentors, both professionally and personally, at key stages of my life. My school has a mentor program, and the teacher I was assigned to turned out to be a great fit, and we still enjoy working together to this day! And this year, I’ve been asked to mentor a teacher who is new to our district (although she has more teaching experience than I do…), so I’ve tried to think a little about what I’ve appreciated about my mentors. Here’s quick list of a few key characteristics that my favorite mentors have possessed:
1. The right balance between truthful and kind. The ability to give honest feedback about your abilities, or tough information about how things work in your school or organization, but to do it in a caring and respectful way.
2. Reflective. They ask questions before (and more often than) they provide answers, they analyze their own practices and preferences, and allow the mentee to have different opinions and practices.
3. Loyal. They want the mentee to succeed, and will be more loyal to them than to others who are questioning them.