I’m one day into my career as a mentor for a student-teacher, and while I can’t speak for her— though she seemed very positive— I know I’ve already gained a lot.

Since we are now a team and I’m responsible for helping her to get a foothold on the craft of teaching, I am upping my game. Prior to class today I took more time with my plans, talked through all of my decisions, and afterward sat down to scrutinize student work as soon as it was handed in. That level of reflectiveness can be hard to gin up when you’re on your own.

Today I tried to model my best practices as a teacher, and it felt good. The class was clicking a notch or two better than usual. As the semester progresses and I hand over more and more control of the classes to my student-teacher, I expect to gain a whole new perspective on what works with my students, with ample opportunities to talk it all through.

Alone, teachers can become islands and slip into lax practices. With a good match, both become stronger teachers.

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