Mentor of Holistic Education & Cultural Recovery
Distinguishing Mentors from Teachers?
Are they synonyms? Certainly they are both instructional relationships but how does the role change with the language? The word “teach” comes from “to show, declare, train, warn or persuade”. These are clear job descriptions, but lack an emotional dimension critical in the type of educator one might call their “best teacher.” What are the qualities of our instructors that leave a lasting lifelong memory? We expect certain performances out of teachers as the professional world has outlined the job description in various ways, but how do we define Mentorship?
All mentors are teachers, but not all teachers are mentors.
Relationship and learning is at the heart of Mentorship. Those higher domains of affect, philosophy, and spirituality come naturally, and authentically. Mentor comes straight from the oral roots of our Occidental ancestors. English embraces the word mentor remembering the relationship from Homer’s The Odyssey between Mentor and Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. Odysseus solicits Mentor to care for his family in his stead, to teach and guide his son. This relationship is so resonant in our cultural psyche that it fulfills an archetype, defined, in part, as a teacher, but also friend, advisor, guide, and guardian.
When we think back on our education, some teachers we can’t recall at all, while others provided unforgettable influence. Yet, there are a select few that we feel are instrumental in shaping us. The average student might have more than fifty teachers by the time they graduate from high school, but how many of those will make extraordinary connections? Or, consider those all-to cliché seminar classes at the University where the instructor can’t put a face to a name. A pay check confirms a professor is a teacher, but nothing more. Many individuals we might call our mentors in our lives did not reach us in a classroom and were not adorned the title Teacher, yet without their influence, our learning would not have been as rich.
A mentor fosters a holistic learning relationship.
That is, the mentor is interested in the whole person. There is not one specific or specialized cognitive goal or subject such as Math or Music, that summarizes the relationship. By its nature unique and germane. There are forces of timing, intuition, empathy, relevant knowledge, mutual respect and hard honesty at work between a learner and mentor. Perhaps no one person can be a mentor to everyone, but there are skills that an earnest instructor may hone to make them a more successful facilitator of learning at this profound level. The depth associated with this type of relationship engages, as Michael Meade describes, in gnosis, or embodied knowledge rather than simply a collection of data. A crucial mark of a mentor is the ability to read the learner and identify if and when such a connection would be possible and admitting promptly when it is not.
Originateve is interested in high quality, relevant Instruction.
But we are equally keen to develop the broader, higher-order skills of a mentor and help to redefine industry’s ”best practices” with those models. Mentors are learners first and consistently demonstrate what it is to be a lifelong learner the same way parents who read model what literacy looks like. Our Certified Mentor training program is designed to be a transformative gateway to holistic education based on creativity, rigor, community, and revitalization of culture, ecology, and spirit. Movements such as Democratic, Expeditionary and Studio Schools as well as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia brands of education are already oriented toward addressing many of the questions vital to the coming generations that we hope to help answer. We are confident that learners raised in an environment surrounded by qualified mentors will lead to communities of mentors and exponentially meet the challenges of the future.