Tag Archives: teaching

What does mentoring look like?

My parents would so have a massive Samoan style BF if they knew of my mischievous brat antics while in my last two years of high school.  Mildly put, I kinda spiralled out of control.  I dunno???  Maybe something to do with raging hormones, developing frontal lobes and all out confused teenage rebellion.

I wasn’t a screechingly loud annoying type.  Just quiet and intimidating lone rebel from hell.  Friends not a requirement.  Doc martens and steel caps my shoes of choice.   Don’t cross me.   #Anger management alert.

My teenager daughter is baffled by my psychic eagle powers of seeing around all her angles of deception attemtps.

Honey, I am MASTER deception.  Sensei Sneaky.  SAS Covert Operations Elite.  The all seeing eye.  The Oracle.

Two more years of expert training acquired at university until I was (thankfully) suspended.

Group work at my Community Mentoring Course earlier this week had us picking random questions out of a bag. (A coles cooler bag if you must know) Purpose was to observe mentee or mentor conduct.  An intentional exercise that drew out automatic behaviours.  Illuminating I must say.

Answering my selected question without hesitation and direct honesty was a breeze.  No further discussion required. (I’m just awesome like that)  Personal reflection and profound probing later stirred emotions inspiring this post.

RANDOMN QUESTION: “Who was your favourite teacher and why?”
ANSWER: “My 6th form accounting teacher.  I was 16 and she believed in me when those around me didn’t.  She picked me up when I needed it. (Realising I’m in a mentoring course)  Wow! I guess you could say she was like a mentor for me”.

Like seriously.  In a mentoring course and realising I had my own at a critical time in my life. PRICELESS.
Could that be why I’m ok with who I am right now. Yes, she was definitely a huge factor.

  • What teacher stands up for you when colleagues discuss your lack of attendance in Statistics?

Instead she casually (as teachers do….NOT EVEN) walks into the senior common room and asks whether I’m supposed to be somewhere right now. I am honest with her after all she is also my form teacher too.
“Yip, statistics and it’s so boring and I don’t understand any of it. Annnnd she only teaches the front of the class and ignores us at the back”.

“Oh, OK”, is all she says. Sitting there waiting for her to ORDER me back to class she tells me about a leaving certificate. “It is a national certificate that recognises your official satisfactory completion of high school. Future employers will want to see this”.

Yeah my turn to go, “Oh, OK”.

“Um, you need to satisfy certain criteria of attendance, competency and satisfactorily completing all subjects”.

Case closed. “Yes Miss. I will be at all future statistic classes and I will sit at the front”. I still loathe statistics but learned what I needed to.

Did she like do a mentoring course or something?

  • What teacher turns up to your house after 3 days of consecutive absences and simply asks whether I’m ok.

(My parents only knew I wasn’t at school for one day. I was hanging at a friends on the other two days)  I was so moved by her concern that I made sure I was at school for her.  I really didn’t want to disappoint her anymore. (not that it was about disappointing her but I never realised that yet)

  • What teacher gets permission to take me out of school grounds for lunch?

One that is concerned enough to recognise self destruction. I lost one of my best mates to cancer and refused to attend her funeral.  I was so angry.  All she said to me was this, “If you ever need to talk about anything I am here not as your teacher but just someone to listen”.  Told her I was fine.

  • What teacher sews your ball dress and says if you ever get married I would like the honour of making your wedding dress?

I got hitched at the registry so no wedding dress there but my ball dress came complete with the royalty of a cape. I was a princess without my regular armour and defence mechanisms activated.

  • What teacher helps you cram at her place for finals because you can’t bluff your way anymore through highschool….while she makes her famous shortbread cookies for brain food?

I failed miserably by the way but it was enough to get into a Science degree at the University which my older brother helpfully enrolled me into.  God bless him for his unconditional commitment to my future.

I begrudgingly attended  University the following year with no honest attempt at trying.  I didn’t want to be there. I was lost and confused and just wanted to immerse myself into a job.

I never thanked her properly nor have I kept in touch.  She is always in my heart.  I carry her kindness with me always.  I still have her glowing reference letter that I thought she must have confused me with someone else and put the wrong name on it.

She believed in me when others gave up.  She encouraged me to take on leadership roles and I loved it.  House Captain.  Samoan Group Leader and principal dancer.  Volleyball Captain.  I thrived in the environment of rallying, delegating and inspiring towards success. (OK. Miss Competitive-Take-No-Prisoners-Mercy is for the weak-Fun is when we celebrate winning)  #Issues.

She saw what I didn’t.  Frustrating most,  she broke down my barriers long enough for me to glimpse my potential.
She told me I had the potential to do anything I wanted to and would set about achieving it with distinction.  It is who you are.

I have carried that with me (often trying not to) through life.
Why didn’t I keep in touch.  Because I didn’t realise I had a mentor.
I just thought of her as my favourite teacher who gave a damn.
Of all my highschool memories and subjects learned, she is what has stuck and can recall vividly.

She had two brats when I was in high school.  One graduated with honours in Psychology and is a Doctor in Clinical Psychology working for/with youth offenders and the relevant agencies.
I am an Executive Research Analyst in Behavioural Sciences specialising in child behaviour.  I am the Chairman on the Board of Directors for Unasa Holdings.  In my spare time I am an artist and I write for self-expression.

Not too bad for a couple of brats that one teacher made time for.

Thank you so much for the difference you made in my life.