More about EDN mentors
E-mentoring = E-joy ???
A light-hearted perspective on mentoring written by the mentor co-ordinator. Don't miss the "poetry" at the end.
For most educators in Schoolnet's projects the experience has been exciting and challenging, although not without difficulty. Educators often encounter problems - technical as well as personal issues have stood in the way of many educators' success. The mentors have persisted through the ups and downs and generally been able to "hou die blinkkant bo" (lit.: keep the shiny side up) through the support and help and friendship that they receive from one another. For most mentors, it has been an extremely enriching and rewarding experience, and it has been gratifying to see the responses and results from the educators with whom they are working.
Apart from the more classic requirements laid down in order to qualify as a mentor, the following attributes are more likely to contribute to their success and job satisfaction than a whole host of computer and pedagogical skills:
For a glimpse into the inner workings of the mentor minds and the evidence of the above attributes, here are some extracts from emails. They offer graphic illustrations of the joys and woes of e-mentoring, and are a sound testimony to the encouragement and support that is available from fellow mentors. And then, when normal words fail, the poets spring into action, the jokes fly, and the graphics dance across our screens......
"It should be a piece of cake. A poppy seed cake. Any crumbs of achievement we get are seeds which will grow. And soon there will be lots of cake for everyone. We just need the right recipe." (Rik)
" My strategy is roughly "less is more". Keep in touch with the faithful. Keep it short. Keep it positive. Keep it simple - especially when mistakes are made and instructions seem to be ignored. Be tactful and respectful. Don't patronise. Don't panic. Don't sweat the small stuff!
"mentor: Things are going slowly but fortunately I have one mentee who is performing well and when I read this in his ediary I realised that this is what it is all about from the mentee's e-diary (reflective journal):
'The module is so interesting it makes me want to come to the computer laboratory every day to work on it. The module up to this far has made me proud of using the spreadsheets and also talking about it whenever I am with my colleagues. They always wanted me to show them how I managed to calculate my marks so quickly. Now I feel I worth millions to my school .'
"Whatever happens, however my mentees respond, I REFUSE to stop twinkling.
I am sure that my input is having a positive impact (no matter how small), and I am happy in the knowledge that I am doing my little bit to improve education in South Africa." (Star)
Poems - some mentors resorted to "poetry" to keep the spirits high
When the theme was horsey...
There was a silly young filly
Flogging a dead horse is proverbially silly,
I can't wait
May the bod
Play the book,
On the occasion of SchoolNet winning the the NGO Category of the 2002 ICT Achievers Award for bridging the digital divide.
Proud and tall the mentors stood their mouses near at hand
Does "bridging the digital divide" mean we're going to have to grow webbed
And then a season of Haiku hit the ether
Yesterday it worked
Three things are certain
Neither smile nor cry
My mouse ran away
Smiles - from mentees' e-mails
" (the mentor) - I think it would be selfish of me to keep these pearls to myself:
(the mentee) I am a window with three children, one girl and two sons."
"I am married with one child (son ten years old). I am struggling to have more. If anyone can help please write to me."
Gulp!! I'm just a simple country boy - I'll skip on this one!!
"My name is xxxxx. I am single but soon I will be double."
This article was written by Anne Gordon, SchoolNet's mentor co-ordinator. Her online facilitation skills have kept a very diverse and remarkable group of tutors together. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact email@example.com
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