As opposed to a more traditional mentor/mentee relationship, peer mentoring offers a different dynamic in terms equity and power. I feel the value in peer mentoring comes from the ability for peers to experience strong empathy for situations they to are facing in the present moment. Peer observing is a key aspect of Advanced Instructional Strategies because it provides us with the opportunity to practice observing and mentoring someone else, following two quarters of practicing being observed and mentored.
By observing another educator teaching I have found myself gaining knowledge simply from the content they are teaching their students. I have found that everyone knows at least something (if not many things) about the ecosystem here at IslandWood that I don't know or understand. There are species of plants and animals I don't know how to identify and scientific processes I don't fully have a grasp on, that I have been able to learn about along with the SOP students through peer observation.
When I go out to observe a peer, I make lots of notes on the skills I see being used in their teaching. This quarter, I have been especially focused on watching the way my peers use behavior management skills- what strategies and techniques they are implementing and the way their students respond. There is such a vast variety of affective ways to provide behavior management; similarly, different students respond better to different things, making a large repertoire of skills very beneficial.
Mentoring requires a certain disposition to create an atmosphere in which your mentee feels safe and comfortable to engage and productive discussion. Some of the dispositions I have noticed that are very important in mentoring are curiosity, empathy, clarity, and mutual respect.