For the last seven years, every January and February teachers around the world get together in an online community to talk about mentoring. They share experiences, discuss materials they have read, plan their mentoring work and design ways in which mentoring can become an integral part of their professional self-definition.
Being a mentor is often a lonely position. Many of us work in isolation and we have little contact with others, our responsibilities are varied and we have few occasions to discuss what we do and to re-charge our batteries and re-stock our toolbox.
Many of us spend time on social networks and connect with others but the general hubbub and the noise of these platforms often leave us with little guidance and support.
This is why having five weeks at the beginning of the year is such a great opportunity to form new relationships, share best practices, discuss individual and general challenges, exchange anecdotes and belong to a like-minded group of people.
Who can participate?
Anyone who is interested in mentoring for professional development. We have participants from all over the world. Some of them are completely new to mentoring and would like to find out more about it. Many of the participants are mentors already and they are looking for new materials. A big group of people want to share their mentoring experiences and discuss their particular situation and seek advice and support.
Who are the sessions run by?
#Mentorevo is run by a small group of coordinators who are passionate about mentoring. They are responsible for creating the materials and facilitating the discussions on a variety of platforms (a blog, a Facebook group, a Facebook page and a Google+ community serve as the main platforms of collaboration). There are invited guest speakers and real-time (synchronous) discussions in the form of webinars and google Hangouts.
How can I participate?
You can sign up for the session during the first week of January, or join the different communities.
How much time do I have to invest?
As much as you can spare. Lurking (hanging around without actually contributing) is greatly supported. There are no assignments and there are no requirements. You make as much out of it as you can using the time you have as well as you can. There is no pressure.
What’s in it for me?
• You can find colleagues who are in similar situations and can help you cope with your own challenges better.
• You can read and discuss topics related to mentoring, you can share your ideas and reflections.
• Taking part in the real-time events can help you connect with some of the most influential thinkers in mentoring for English language teachers.
• You can identify your key skills, design your own plans for including mentoring in your everyday professional activity.
January is so far. What can I do right now?
• If you are reading this post, you are at the best possible place. The IATEFL Hungary Mentor SIG promises to become an influential hub for conversation about mentoring. Follow the posts on this blog, read about current events, check out the materials in the archive.
• You can also join the #mentorevo Facebook group, where we keep discussing mentoring related issues, share materials, ask questions even after the actual session has finished.
• Write a blog post for this blog or the mentor evo blog to share your thoughts and invite others’ opinions.
• Follow @mentorevo on twitter or save the #mentorevo hasthag, use these when posting about mentoring.
• Check out the participants and connect with them individually.
• Become a mentor with the International Teacher Development Institute, find mentors who can help you, or mentees you support.
#mentorevo aims to be a practical resource for teachers who are involved in mentoring, and those who are struggling with certain aspects of their teaching or professional life and seek the support of other teachers.
For us, mentoring is not something restricted to novice teachers. We believe that a mentor can help a colleague at any stage of their career to avoid burn-out, to try out new things, to create new relationships and discover new and exciting opportunities in the world of English language teaching.
We hope to see you in one of our communities. Come and join us. Let’s give mentoring the prestige we believe it deserves as a major activity to promote learning and becoming a better learner and teacher.
How do you keep your “mentoring juices” flowing?