I hope you all had a great summer. I’m writing to invite you to participate in the Graduate Student Mentorship Program we started in Spring 2017. Some of our graduate students successfully completed the program in previous semesters, and we would like more of you to participate in it. The purpose of this program is to provide support to graduate students teaching in the Spanish Basic Language Program for the first time, or teaching with performance-based instruction for the first time, and to allow for more experienced graduate students to share their knowledge and teaching experience with their colleagues. New instructors will work with more experienced graduate student colleagues, who will assist them with their practice (methodological matters and class management). However, it is expected that the program will be beneficial for both mentor and mentee, establishing “a personal and professional relationship in which both participants co-construct their professional identities within a specific context” (Delaney, 2012, p. 186) [Delaney, Y. A. (2012). Research on mentoring language teachers: Its role in language education. Foreign Language Annals, 45(S1), 184-202.]
I. Qualifications, Roles, and Responsibilities
a. Required qualifications:
In order to become a mentor, a graduate student needs to possess the following qualifications:
–has received training in performance-based instruction and assessment;
–has taught at least one class in the Spanish Basic Language Program;
–has received very good student evaluations (average above 4.5).
–Meet with mentee at least once every two weeks to assist with lesson planning, activity development, exam grading, and/or any issues that may arise in the mentee’s daily practice;
–Observe at least two of the mentee’s classes per semester, and meet with him/her to provide constructive feedback on the activities observed;
–Be available for consultation on a regular basis on previously agreed days and times;
–Meet with both Dr. Zapata and mentee at least twice a semester for consultation and/or updates on the mentorship experience;
–At the end of the semester, write a 300-500 word reflective essay on the experience of being a mentor, focusing on the professional and personal benefits of the experience.
a. A mentee:
–is defined as a graduate student with limited teaching experience, who is in charge of a class in the Spanish Basic Language Program for the first time, and/or who has no experience and/or training in performance-based instruction;
–has voluntarily accepted to be part of the mentorship program.
–Meet with mentor at least once every two weeks to seek assistance with lesson planning, activity development, exam grading, and/or any issues that may arise in the his/her daily practice;
–Allow mentor to observe at least two of his/her classes per semester, and meet with mentor to receive constructive feedback on the activities observed (the mentee needs to be opened to suggestions and recommendations for improvement);
–Seek advice from mentor when needed on previously agreed days and times;
–Meet with Dr. Zapata and mentor at least twice a semester for consultation and/or updates on the mentorship experience;
–At the end of the semester, write a 300-500 word reflective essay on the experience of being a mentee, focusing on the pedagogical and personal benefits of the experience.
II. Benefits for Mentor and Mentee and Spanish Basic Language Program
–The establishment of a professional, collaborative relationship that can be beneficial to the professional growth of both mentor and mentee;
–The development of a mutually beneficial learning experience, in which both, mentor and mentee, support and learn from each other;
–The facilitation of the successful implementation of performance-based instruction and assessment in Spanish classes.
The details of the collaboration between mentor and mentee will be confidential.
I encourage all graduate students teaching in the language program to become either mentors or mentees. This is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues in more depth, and also, to broaden your teaching and service experience (a great addition to your CVs). If you feel you could take advantage of your colleagues’ experience and collaboration (e.g., if you are not happy with your student evaluations, if you’re teaching in the program for the first time, if you have not received training in performance-based instruction), consider becoming a mentee. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or a mentee, please let me know by next Wednesday, August 29. Also, if you decide to be a mentee, and have a person in mind who could be a great fit as a mentor for you, please let me know.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the program. Thanks!!
Gabriela C. Zapata, PhD | Associate Professor
Department of Hispanic Studies | Texas A&M University
4238 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-4238 | firstname.lastname@example.org | she, her, hers
Personal Website: https://www.gzapatatexasam.com/
Spanish Program Website: https://www.spanprogtexasam.com/
Applied Psycholinguistics and Cognition Lab: https://www.appliedpsychcoglab.com/