Janet’s Journey – Part 2

Oct 24, 2022

Janet is an RECE in Windsor-Essex and a participant in the WERECE Mentorship Program. Follow Janet as she documents her experiences as a mentor and co-learner.

Sept. 12, 2022 The big kick off at Malden Park. We finally get to meet in person. My thoughts prior: will she recognize me, will there be silence and awkwardness and no personal connection, will we be compatible, is this a match that will benefit us both? Nervous, excited, happy, and so looking forward to it. I enter the building and almost immediately she walks over to greet me with a big smile on her face. I think it was comparable to the first day of daycare for some parents not knowing what to expect but relieved at the sight of a friendly comforting childcare worker. She was so friendly, excited, happy, and enthused at meeting me it made me feel yes this could work. She showed me around almost making me feel once again like she is already a leader perhaps a little guidance from me would be a bonus. We decided to start meeting in person, maybe grab a coffee as we both prefer face to face meetings, following the first mandatory zoom meeting on September 20. We enjoyed a dinner (great food by the way), personal conversation, some fantastic speakers, meeting new people at our table with like interests, and we had an enjoyable time.  The energy in that outdoor room was electric and so positive. So glad to be a part of it. 🙂 Upon leaving we were given a small plant emphasizing the growth we can all obtain from this program if we so choose. I carefully decided on a plant with leaves or arms that were reaching outward feeling the symbolism that this was what this program hoped to achieve. Reaching out for new beginnings and that the possibilities were endless, but required some care, focus, and tenderness along the way.  I must admit when I got home, I thought that pot was so small, so I transferred it to a bigger one with more soil and opportunity to grow. Just like the journey ahead. 🙂

September 17, 2022 I reach out via my phone messaging to see if perhaps we could settle on a day to meet just the two of us to discuss goals, the program, and anything else that pops in our head. Brainstorming that since my daycare is around the corner from my house, I thought perhaps we could meet at my house and then venture on over to the daycare and go through the rooms without children present.  No pressure though if she is not comfortable meeting at my house, we can always meet somewhere else. She loves the idea and is eager to join me when there are children present too. I confirm all is cool with my supervisor and she loves the idea of both checking it out empty and having her come to shadow one day or more if she wishes. I mention I would like to come to her workplace too. Variety is the spice of life. All set – can’t wait for Saturday!

September 20, 2022, Zoom meeting “Creating a Culture of Mentoring”, with Cheryl Third joining us new mentors and mentees. Time well spent. Lots of opportunities to share as well as helpful suggestions and great quotes and videos too. The breaking off into chat rooms to make interacting easier, and a smaller group size was fantastic.  Once again everyone seems so eager to learn and share their journey. The time flew by. One of the highlights for me was it sort of helped me realize and start initiating working towards a goal. I had been tossing a few things over in my head since the kick off at Malden Park when my mentee eagerly got up to share her thoughts on the microphone.  The only one. I felt great pride in seeing her do that and questioned why I didn’t do that. What made me hesitate and stop rather than sharing my thoughts with my peers?  I see myself as a very confident person, a leader, lots of experiences, happy to share ideas and suggestions with fellow co-workers at the daycare, yet I never have talked on that microphone or stepped up visually and vocally on a zoom meeting. Sure, I respond in the chat box but perhaps I need to put myself out there just a wee bit more.  Yes, I will try it. I must admit when I put the hand sign up during the zoom meeting to speak and be a part of that visual world, I was a bit tense and nervous. I knew I could do it but what if I stumbled over the words or said the wrong things? I pushed those negative thoughts away and spoke, and I must say it felt good and I did not ramble on, and I believe people enjoyed what I said. There were no right or wrong answers just a sharing and bonding of thoughts. In fact, a co-worker also mentoring messaged me immediately after with the message “Well said”. I guess we all must start somewhere. 🙂