California GEAR UP Staff Professional Development Pairings

Winter 2008 | | March 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

By Vance Mills, School-Based Manager

At the 2007 GEAR UP staff retreat, team members were paired up to provide creative professional development opportunities between
seasoned educators and those new to the profession. I saw this as a way to mentor a new colleague, an important role for all of us who have many years of school experience plus other related educational activities.

One way to help those with less experience is to bring them physically to observe an activity or event. An example occurred last spring when a group I belong to was involved in providing scholarships for high school seniors to attend college. At a lunch meeting the panel planned to go over the questions to be posed to the high school students. So I invited my mentoring partner Crystal Graves, Student Services Model Project Director, to participate by helping us develop the questions. Later that afternoon, Crystal was able to observe the entire process of interviewing students and then later selecting the ones to receive the scholarships.

As a result, Crystal talked about remembering how she had gone through a similar process to receive a college scholarship. It was very informative for her to see the process from the other side of the table. In fact, in her work at Valley high school in Elk Grove, she planned to incorporate practice interviews with the students to better prepare them for such an experience.

Too many times educators read about a process and attempt to reach students simply by talking about it. For a lasting impression, provide students the opportunity to observe or participate in the process. Mentoring a less experienced colleague is one way for seasoned educators to pass along their own lived experiences.

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