Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Using an Interactive Journal to Build Relationship

As I spent the last 2 days in training for the Teacher Education Collaborative at San Jose State, I realized once again the great importance of the work that we do in education. Over and over presenters reminded faculty associates (mentor teachers) of the importance of transparency. How, I began pondering, can I be sure to involve my intern in my thought processes, sharing the rationale for all that I do in my classroom? One way that we have decided to share our thinking is through an interactive journal, a place where we can both record ideas and respond to each other. Here are a few items I plan to include as we begin the journal together.
  • Encouragement: I plan to use the journal to validate emotions such as anxiety of being a newcomer to the classroom.
  • Humor: Sharing funny snippets of observations/kidwatching will surely convey memorable lessons of our time together. Humor broadens the mind, relaxing each person.
  • Rationale: Giving my intern a forum to ask my rationale for certain procedures, lesson plans, parent communications etc. will make my teaching transparent and comprehensible.
  • Opportunities: to ask/answer any questions.
  • Goal Setting: I will use the journal to work with my intern to set SMART goals. I will also convey my own goals and be more accountable for them.
  • Observations/Insights: We can use the journal to record observations and insights each day. These can provide information for our weekly formal collaborative time.
  • Building on Strengths: The journal is a perfect opportunity to express appreciation and awareness of each other's strengths.
  • Increase Clear Communication: Having a dedicated place to jump off and communicate will help both of us remember all of the issues we want to discuss later in person.
I am excited about the challenge and opportunity to mentor my intern this year! How else would you use an interactive journal in a mentoring relationship?


Julie Niles Petersen said...

I see this post was from August 11, 2009. I am wondering how this is going. It sounds like a truly amazing opportunity for your intern.

Julie Niles Petersen said...

I see you were starting this on August 11, 2009. Today is November 22, 2009. I am wondering how this is going. It sounds like a truly amazing opportunity for your intern.

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks Julie. It is actually going very well. She is very reflective and quite hard on herself so it is a very positive and constructive place for me to challenge her "self-talk" while also pushing her to try new strategies. She prefers a notebook and writing by hand, while I prefer to email as I can type faster than I can write, so we will find a way to somehow integrate our emails ( from our days apart) into the journal. The whole experience has been great so far; I am learning so much about myself as a teacher and strengthening the rationale behind the choices I make in the classroom.