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Yesterday, after a long night of election-watching, I headed out the door to attend a day of training.

Attendees walked in bleary-eyed.  Most had coffee in their hands.

I wish I liked coffee, but I don’t, so I was caffeine-free and struggling a bit.

Still, I was excited at the opportunity to learn more about a topic I’ve been interested in for awhile.

Clinical Educator Training is a fancy phrase.  I don’t know why the State of Florida’s Department of Education feels the need to complicate everything.  (Because they can would be their likely answer.)

Simply put, I was there to learn how to be a mentor.  Yesterday was Day 1 of two days.  I’ll go back next month for the second part.

We got fancy binders with lots of different colored pages and even a copy of the PowerPoint presentation to help us follow along.

The best part, though, was the opportunity to talk to other teachers about the impact mentoring has had on us throughout our careers (or the lack, thereof, in the beginning).

I made a great connection with a young lady at my table.  She’s been teaching ten years in an elementary setting, but we hit it off immediately.  She even asked if she could come observe one of my classes.  I look forward to learning more from her; she’s an overachiever like me.  I think I can help her find some balance in her teaching and personal life along with introduce her to the benefits of student-selected silent reading and great read-alouds.

As the day progressed, I could not help but think of my friend, Cinda, whom I’ve written about in more than one post.

She came into my teaching life my second year.  The way she’s guided me since that time has truly been remarkable.  She’s provided a listening ear, expert suggestions, and a model of constant self-reflection.  She’s challenged me to find better ways to engage students to meet their needs…to take time to create personal relationships with my students so that kids will be willing to work for me.

God has used her to mold me into the teacher I am today…one who reaches higher…who “does the most,” as my students would say.

Although I’ve already been mentoring teachers, finishing this coursework will allow me to do it officially for teaching candidates in town who are attending programs at our local colleges.  In fact, that’s why I asked permission to attend the training.  I’d been approached a few months ago by the assistant director of the alternative teacher certification program I attended my first year of teaching.  She asked if I’d be interested in being a teacher mentor, and I jumped at the chance.  I just needed this training first.

I am grateful for a principal who allows me to attend such training sessions where I can be mentored and, in turn, help others around me.

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