Celebrating the Wonder and Beauty of Mentorship: Reflections from a Graduating Student

Change requires making choices. It’s not enough to dream of changing. It’s not enough to desire change. In order for you to change, you will need to make a decision. You must choose to change. Speaking with Nicole and Carrie this semester has done wonders for my life and in helping me develop my own pedagogy and myself as an educator. One blog post alone will not be able to describe the amount of knowledge, help, level of understanding and questioning that I have embraced. 

My name is Bianca, I have worked at Seneca Lab School as an apprenticeship student for the last 2 years post covid-19. I enjoy working here because I can focus, be vulnerable and develop. There is a team here that is not perfect but magnificent in their own way.  I graduated this October, and will soon be a registered ECE within Ontario.

To get right into it, I am going to begin with Nicole. Nicole is an individual I believe that has been sent from above to be that changemaker in the world. She also can relate on a level with others that I can appreciate. She has mastered this skill. Without her being aware of this, I admire that quality about her. The categories of our evening discussions have been quite impactful on my life. She is gifted, she is Nicole, she looks deeper, she looks beyond this dimension, she looks at a puzzle and tries to find what is unique about each piece not just how it will come together, but how it can fall apart. Nicole has a strong personality, and that is what is so great about her. That even when she has shown you how to think outside of the box, she takes what you have introduced and added to her massive thinking. I love her talkative nature because it has fueled me in ways that are magical!  You can learn a lot when you listen with compassion. Nicole  is onboard for platform engineering of the ECE world and beyond.

Mycpl app is a new online format made for students preparing for the workforce. It was difficult at first but has become easier and more exciting because of Nicole. Topics we have engaged in are: my goals in Mycpl, how to navigate the Mycpl app so that it is easier, discussing colours, auras, loose parts, non-verbal children, autism, my toddler, educators, being an educator, the politics in a place of work, emotions, movies, theories, pedagogical documentation, pedagogical practices, food practices, the current program of study and how it is being structured within Ontario.  These topics are just a short list of the dreams within the ECE world and of course our reason for our love of the field. Having the opportunity to talk to Nicole about all these various topics and relate them to the field and the children we serve brings meaning to mentorship and broadens the instructive way of mentorship. More than just emulating the actions of an experienced educator – I feel and I have gained emotional mindfulness. That it holds space in my heart that will stain and be a memory of positivity when I connect with children again. The greatest thing you could ever teach a child is how to research and think for themselves, discover for themselves. Nicole is not afraid of research, or getting down to fine details of what may or may not interest you or a child/adult. This is good when working on any project. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the path forward out of pain and the future reality waiting for you. My pedagogy is finally complete and my understanding of non-verbal children (Mycpl goal),  is going to take some in-person practice but I am happy I chose these goals. With the help of Nicole giving me a push to be free within these doubtful walls, I now understand my pedagogy both in life, within the classrooms and on the playground.

Next and Finally is Carrie.

Carrie is in every sense of the word a RECE, these skills and attributes run through her and the pride in her work and in the field is obvious to all. She is very professional, very formal in her approach to doing things, very by the book, theoretical/theory based, cares about working with the children. Her energy and her enthusiastic side shines out when she speaks about her relationships with the children.

I can see it in her stories, in her documentation that when she shares an experience with the children. She cares about what the children are interested in, how they go about building their relationships amongst themselves throughout the day and at home. Carrie takes notice of what the children  are experiencing and what they experience together.

I find this magical in many ways. She has a way of telling the story that moves away from just describing the final product of what happened. Carrie reminds you that you are leading the navigation, you are telling the whole journey through your eyes,  you are the explorer of play!  She shared her process of note taking all the time about what they are doing. She shared that the children know what she is doing at all times, and they intentionally come to share their thoughts with her – sometimes for her to be able to add it in, or  draw in new conclusions that the children arrived at

Carrie is reserved yet talented. She reminds me of a delicate bouquet on a fine dining table. Her approach is confident, cool and calm.  She is a deep and surface thinker.  There is no middle ground – this is what works and this what doesn’t, don’t forget to add your swing on it and make it yours. 

She builds sincere relationships with children that model magical friendships. Being able to discuss with Carrie about the pressures in the early childhood field, the curriculum and what keeps us away from massive imaginative thinking to provide innovative solutions was enlightening.  Carrie is a strong believer of mentorship, this is admirable because mentorship takes time, effort and respect. Mentorship can bring growth to us students that sometimes gets overlooked. To improve our professional practise, we need to see, hear and be with our Mentors. Carrie supported my goal, broadened my understanding of collaborative partnerships and empowered me to always be myself.  Carrie voiced that it’s okay to take responsibility when things don’t go as planned or seem a little off within the classroom.

“Don’t be afraid to look at yourself!” Carrie mentioned.

My learning and my honesty reflect in my professional development. Thank you Carrie, for being a role model.

I give myself permission to say, Carrie and Nicole are two different educators each bringing beauty, dedication and their unique gifts to the field and to me as a student. This was a good opportunity for me to understand the workforce and even family, we have all kinds of people we are going to interact with and be amongst. We have to accept that everyone has different personalities and qualities. So, the next time you get an opportunity to have a Mentee or Mentees, a household full of members due to a pandemic – become wholesomely accepting for your own personal growth. Be aware that others are growing with you as well. I believe these conversations and throughout my mentorship, I have changed. They have added to my developing pedagogy and who I am becoming as an educator.

My pedagogy is:

Energies, auras and shades of beauty.

How it can represent all that we do…

How do we as a people glow? Vibe?

What are we embodying or sending out?

Colours are like personalities, we have different shades, tones and lights.

Children too, are they blue shaded during this time, holding onto a green essence, water flowing, sunny or calming feathered pillow-like?

Music is the beat of every heart, soul and empowerment.

Since doing this activity, I have learned that singing is good for mental health or brain food.

Finding connections with text, reading, conversating, and looking at

logos, symbols, connections

Nature is my pedagogy,I am an earth angel.

I love outside, I am allergic to grass but it is where I have always been.

The rain, the sun, the mud, the sand, the cool breeze is me, all over me.

The bugs, the roly polies, the worms, the flowers, the rocks, the sticks, the smell is always refreshing.

Mastering a sense of calmness is my pedagogy!

Every place I have worked, I had at least one opportunity with a child whom I can build on their abilities.

To remain in their power. We and I need this!

Experimenting, just because it is mind-blowingly and fun

Building emotional intelligence in everyone is my pedagogy!

Writing as a form of expression is my pedagogy!

Changing the way we speak to children

The way we speak about children

The words we use. The body language we use.

The how and when we use the body language towards children.

Telling, Teaching and sharing my voice to my

colleagues that, “we are in this together” is important to my well-being.

Finding Happiness in being a child advocate

that is what gives me love, and purpose and power to my inner being.

Families that need us to be superheroes when they are not present

Holding Kindness and Integrity with nearness

Being that different Black woman that will reshape the mind of others about my race and community.

I believe these are my pedagogies…

These are the pieces that shape and make me, the educator I am. As a child development practitioner in practise before this mentorship took place with Carrie and Nicole I couldn’t arrive here. I felt I was just a student, in training. Mentorship matters. My pedagogy and the understanding of it matters.I have been using the word “matters” a lot throughout these paragraphs. I hope it matters to each one reading this post, especially students like me. What is important to you has meaning, value and purpose!

“Beauty is the summation of all the parts working together in such a way that nothing needed to be added, taken away or altered.” 

– Elio Carlotti, painter

May this knowledge walk alongside you in your future and steer you where the wind blows.

One thought on “Celebrating the Wonder and Beauty of Mentorship: Reflections from a Graduating Student

  1. Thank you Bianca for sharing all of this! I appreciate your kind words and how you are able to speak of the beauty and value that sharing experiences with different personalities, views and ways of being brings to our field. I am happy to have been a part of this journey with you and am looking forward to see what awaits you as you put your pedagogy into action. Congratulations!

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