As a child of the ’80s, I loved watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse on Saturday mornings. I especially loved the “secret word” that was a cue for everyone in the Playhouse to scream every time someone said it. I am convinced that in the past 24 hours of my life, the secret word has been mentor.
1. In yesterday’s local paper, there was an article explaining how Big Brothers Big Sisters is trying to quantify the impact of high-quality mentoring.
2. Toward the end of the school day yesterday, one of the veteran teachers stopped me in a moment of stress. She said she mentored the teacher next door and needed some help around approaching a difficult conversation that they’ve been trying to have during their last few meetings. I said, “So you as a mentor kind of need a mentor right now?”
3. I had a great, long-overdue catch-up phone session with my mom yesterday afternoon. She always asks about work, and I explained to her some of the positives of late and how I think my role has really evolved into the mentoring position that I was looking for before we moved to AK.
4. Last night was Dinner League, our regular Wednesday night curling session followed by a home-cooked dinner with everyone there. I was chatting with a fellow curler who is a high school history teacher up here, and I asked her if she had heard of some of the different free online history resources available. While I was describing the site, she stopped and said, “Hey, are you a content mentor?”
5. This morning I wrote an email to my most recent mentors, the two women who led all of my professional development training last year in northern California. I just wanted to thank them again for being such professionals and role models, masters of the art of mentoring. One of them responded immediately, and she wrote that she has a feeling we will work together again someday. I love that thought!
6. The veteran teacher (see #2) and I met this afternoon in a follow-up conversation to strategize about how best to mentor all of her mentees (she has three). I explained that I am a total dork and love talking about mentoring as a practice, so she can tap my shoulder whenever needed.
7. Icing on the cake? I’m catching up on last night’s episode of Top Chef this evening, and the episode is titled “Mentors.” Whaaat? For the elimination challenge that determines the Final Four, each contestant had to cook a dish that would make their respective mentors proud. Yes, all of the mentors appeared as a surprise to the contestants, and all of them — mentors and mentees alike — were very emotional seeing each other.
Conclusion: The secret word is mentor. [insert long, extended, joyful scream here] (Did I mention that currently my sister is mentoring a high school student? And that one of my best friends is a life coach (aka a mentor)?) My ears are peeled for the next Secret Word; I only hope it wil be as obvious as this one.