February 14th, 2016
*This week’s blog post will be going over the topics that were to be covered in both post #2 (How did your mentor gain their experience? What was that experience like for them?) and post #3 (What went well in your mentor session? What relationship challenges did you face? What logical challenges affected your communication?)*
After weeks of frantic emails, searches, and interrogation of other teachers, I have finally been able to get in contact with and have my first meeting with my official mentor, Mrs. McCullough! Just last Wednesday was her first day teaching at the school so I took it upon myself to go down to her classroom to explain my project and ask if she would be a willing mentor. I am so happy to say that she said yes! We decided to meet again at lunch in her classroom on Friday to start the adventure.
Our meeting started out with me explaining the project to her again, this time with more detail. I used what I wrote in my learning contract as a basis to our discussion—explaining goals, possible challenges, and my hopes for an end result. We talked about in-depth night and I explained how I want to do live tutorials on the night of. She helped me set the idea in stone by saying that being more interactive and hands-on for the night will be much more appealing than just showing overused digital media.
I tried my best to stay on track during our conversation by following the outline of my learning contract; however, I could tell that I sometimes rambled on too much or jumped around. Because I noticed this, I wanted to check with Mrs. McCullough to see if she was following. She was very honest and open—she was confused. She explained her understanding of my project back to me, and from there we went over any bits that were not matching up.
After this, Mrs. McCullough confirmed that she would help me out and be my mentor, but she needed me to do something in return. She told me that I always need to be real and open with her. If I have something to say, I need to say it without beating around the bush. I think this is an important part of our relationship because not only will it make our meetings progress efficiently, but it also means that the both of us can be honest with each other when we communicate. She also asked that for each meeting, I come prepared with a list of topics to discuss and work on. Instead of just getting into each meeting, I will need to go over our topics of the day to keep us on track.
When she told me this, I realized that what she’s asking me to do will fit straight in with my goals. I expressed this realization to her and we talked about how being direct is going to be very important for my site as it will help with making things clean and easy-to-follow. We also discussed how this will positively affect my goal of personal skills in our mentor/mentee relationship.
During this meeting, we also took the time to briefly discuss my general plans for the site, student features (which I have decided to have all as tutorials), looked at a hair tutorial book for reference, planned a regular meeting time, and a common method of communication.
Before we ended, I noticed that I talked a lot about myself for the day. As she is my mentor, I thought that it would important for me to get to know more about Mrs. McCullough’s during our first meeting. I asked her about her background of how she got into hairdressing and to where she is today. She told me that ever since she was young, doing hair was always a part of her. It was a passion that she didn’t need to think twice about. Her starting point was doing her doll’s hair as a girl. I could strongly relate to this part of her story as doing my doll’s hair was where my interest began as well. From there, her passion for hair only grew stronger. She went through many different professions but hair was still the biggest part of her. One of her career areas that she shared with me was being a social worker. As a social worker, she got to meet a lot of different people with different struggles and she had the ability to use hair one of the ways to help them. She went on to say that though some don’t see it right away, hair is something that can affect anyone. With her experience as a social worker, teacher, and hairdresser she has seen the ways that hair can impact people. How having a good hair day can boost someone’s confidence to new levels. As a hairdresser this is something she’s had to understand and it’s only given her more advantage to help others.
Overall, our first meeting went very well. Now that our personal introductions are over, we can soon begin to work with ideas for the site and student tutorials. Next week, one of the key things I want to get done is learning more about Gleneagle’s Hairdressing Program. This way, I can get the “About Gleneagle Hairdressing” page finished on my site. Speaking of which, I also completed the introduction pages for both the site and myself on I’m Hair For You.
To end off my post this week, I want to leave a note for my future self who may be reading this in the years to come. I would like to remember how proud of myself I was for taking the initiative to find, speak, and meet with Mrs. McCullough. Going to speak with a teacher that I had no background of was a little nerve-wracking. Especially, with everything I needed to cover. However, I did what needed to be done, I survived, and I ended the day feeling both proud and accomplished. Those two feelings are the best.