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Reverse Mentors for Teachers

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Here is my 3.1 (how to improve LHS). I am focusing on have students work with teachers as reverse mentors to help them make their content and lessons more engaging and relevant to students.
  Reynolds 1 Kurt Reynolds College Comp 3.1 (how to improve LHS) Reverse Mentors for Teachers “I don’t know any jobs that require a kid to sit still and be quiet.” This is a quote from a principal in the Frontline episode “Digital Nation.” And he’s right. Yet, what do students spend most of their time doing at Lincoln High School in the average class? In fact, I think I’ll take this principal’s idea one step further: “I don’t know of any jobs that require a kid to work with just others his same age and to be so disconnected from technology.” Okay. I might be a bit biased there as the only job I’ ve ever known is teaching. However, my brother, sister, and wife work out in “the real world.” Guess what? They work with people of all ages every single day AND they use technology almost every single moment. So how can we best prepare Lincoln students for college and career where they will most likely not be required to still still and be quiet all day as well as work with just people their age and not use technology? The answer is simple: institute a reverse mentoring program. The first step will involve giving every sophomore a personality test. I suggest using Sally Hogshead’s “Fascination Advantage” test. This is a free service that asks students to a series of questions. When they have answered them, the website generates a detailed, 16 page r  eport illustrating each student’s top two personality strengths. The report also details - interestingly enough - each student’s top disadvantage. What is unique about the “Fascination  Advantage” is that it focuses on how the world sees each student (as opposed to how each student sees the world). After getting their report, students will see what their personality strengths really are. They will also see their “fascination disadvantage,” which is a personality trait that is their weakest. The purpose of this is simple: get students to play to their strengths.  Reynolds 2 The second step will involve having teachers take the “Fascination Advantage” test too. Just like students, teachers will see their top two personlity strengths and their top personality weakne ss. For the record, my greatest strength is “Presige.” Sounds great right? Well, all it really means is that I have high standards and try to hold myself to them at all times. My next personality strength is “Innovation.” That means I am forward thinki ng and like to find unconventional methods to solve problems. My biggest weakness is “Trust.” Sounds horrible, right? Well, all that really means is that I’m not a rule follower and am random abstract. Thus, I struggle to maintain trust with others beca use I’m too unconventional (dare I say a rule breaker).  The third step in the reverse mentoring process is then to match two students up with a teacher based on their “Fascination Advantages.” It is vital to line teachers up with students (and vice versa) who have similar traits. Since I’m one who likes to work really hard and excel in my field while also using new methods and not necessarily following the curriculum standards or rules, it wouldn’t make sense to pair me with two students whose strengths are “Trust” and “Power,” for those tend to be concrete sequential, rule followers who don’t like to make a ruckus or step outside of their traditional comfort zones. The fourth - and most important step - would then be to have the students work with me all year as reverse mentors. A reverse mentor is someone who is younger than a traditional mentor. So my mentors would help me adapt my traditional lessons and teaching practices so that they resonate with their peers more effectively. For example, I love Powerpoints. However, if all I ever do is simply copy and paste my notes right into a Powerpoint and then project it up on the screen, what is the real use? I’m not really doing anything differently than if I were just writing them on the board. Just about every student today finds this not only boring but also a terribly tedious way to learn. So my reverse mentors would help me create the Powerpoints. Instead of just having slide after slide of notes, my students would help me embed videos or music relevant to the subject but also engaging. Students could even go so far as to help me ditch Powerpoint for a more engaging presentation system, such as Prezi or Emaze. Students  Reynolds 3 could also help me establish a social media campaign for my classes. They could set up Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Tumblr accounts for me to push my content out to my students; thereby, making it more engaging and accessible to my students. Another example could be having students find examples of science or math - subjects that are traditionally thought of as “unengaging” simply because of their abstract nature - in their favorite TV shows or movies. Just imagine what it would be like to watch an episode of The Walking Dead   and analyze it for biology. Could the living dead really reanimate? How is that even scientifically possible? Or use math to hypothesize the best possible way to dispatch hordes of the undead if suddenly the Zombie apocalypse hit. The teacher and her/his reverse mentors would work together to construct a unit based on these. How cool would that be? Think of the benefits this new reverse mentorship program would have. Not only would it allow students to “teach” their teachers about new technology and practices, but it would also give students a chance to work with an adult in a more intimate capacity than anything that currently happens in school. Best of all, every student in Lincoln would benefit. Not only would they work to “teach” their teachers - and form close bonds because they share the same personality strengths and weaknesses - but they would also make lessons more engaging for their peers. What’s not to love about this approach?  ** if anyone is interested in seeing what your fascination advantages (and disadvantage) are, check out this link. Then type in the Assessment Code of entreleadership Create an account and answer the questions. You’ll have a pdf generated detailing your personality advantages and disadvantage.


Jul 23, 2017
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