Janet’s Journey – Part 3

Nov 18, 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.

September 24, 2022, First meeting just the two of us. I am a little nervous. Made sure my house was extra tidy (wanted a positive impression), cleared my table so we had a nice workstation if needed with pens and pencils. She arrives at my house, and we sit down together at the table to discuss our week and anything else that pops in our heads. Instantly relaxed, no real awkwardness, we both had a lot to say (no pens and pencils needed we were both very vocal). I mentioned I was keeping a diary/journal documenting our journey and to my surprise she is too! We plan to compare notes once we get a few more weeks in. Since this is a new program with no real strict guidelines, we decide we are going to create a path of our own, incorporating the items presented in the participant’s handbook. It was fun to hear her excitement in her voice as she talked about new things she is learning at school. The ideas seem the same as when I went to school just different official titles. We discussed our personal lives, and she even met my husband. Next, we headed over to my daycare, very near my home. No children there but we travelled up, down, and all around exploring and chatting about not only the décor of the rooms but the age groups, sleeping, areas, bulletin boards, allergy lists, meal plans, programming, Hi Mama app, playground, and so on and so on and so on. 🙂  Two hours flew by, and we decide to go our separate ways acknowledging she will come to my daycare to shadow on another day when the children are there, and I will look into visiting her EarlyON Center perhaps the week after, I will check with my supervisor. I talked to my husband about it after, noting the excitement in my voice he said, “You are really enjoying this, aren’t you?” You know what yes, I am.

September 28, 2022, Interaction meeting, A zoom meeting with mentors only. I must admit I was a bit surprised with the small group who chose to join but perhaps that was a positive as we all interacted and connected immediately. It was great to see Kathie Tait-Rayner from St. Clair College joining in as she has such an influence over the future of many Early Childhood Educators, and I am not sure why I did not expect her as part of this, but it felt great, and I deeply appreciated her views and insight. Everyone in the group took a moment or two to speak up. Once again so nice to see so many people with the same interests joining together to talk about accomplishments, progress, or lack of, ways of approaching their mentorship (varied for sure), and most importantly the critical question of how we would spend a million dollars. Lol, great ice breaker. It made me feel like me and my friend formerly known as mentee were ahead of the game and there truly is no right or wrong way to approach our journey. Some people seem to prefer more structure and others more carefree and will take the adventure moment by moment. I am happy to say everyone eagerly approached their mentorship as would best adapt to their schedules but having an overall goal in sight. Very encouraging.

September 29, 2022, achieving goal of stepping outside my comfort zone more 🙂 I will make this short but sweet. I have been documenting my mentor journey through this journal obviously. Writing is another one of my passions. Usually it is kept between me, myself, and I but today I sent my entries so far to Barb Brown. She is very approachable, but I must admit hitting that send button took me a moment or two, but I did it. A proud moment for me. She responded thanking me for sharing. I deeply appreciated her taking the time to quickly response and her kind words as I am certain she has a lot to do and admire all her challenging work with this program. She wants me to continue sending it, yippee, life is good.

September 30, 2022, first shadowing adventure. First shadowing half day at my daycare, in my room. A bit of pressure. Will it be a hectic day, will she stand back or join in, have my previous positive vibes about her been spot on, will she connect with my colleagues and parents but most importantly and foremost what will the babies think. I genuinely wanted her to have a positive experience, but children are unpredictable so one never knows how the day will unfold. Thankfully upon her arrival the most important participants in the day (the children) immediately went to her. That is all I needed to see to know my gut feelings were correct. I could see she was a bit a nervous but so was I. She did not hesitate to join in or ask how she could help, and her love for the children was obvious. Her innocence was energizing! She genuinely wanted what was best for each child. 🙂 Is their room for expansion, absolutely (as there is for us all). Is she open and eager to learn, absolutely (as there is for us all). Was it a positive adventure worth repeating, absolutely. I do not think we stopped talking during our afternoon walk in the buggies. I told her she could leave at any time she did not have to stay to the end of my workday, but she did. 🙂 She even carried the garbage out. She is eager to repeat our day but the full day not just half and I am too. I know we will both be less nervous now as the initial connections have been made. An extra loving hand in our room is always welcome. 🙂

Note: Decided to add some more positive reading to my repertoire. I asked my husband to pick one book I have not read, as he reads motivational books daily as well as writes and reads his goals. He chose “Psycho Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz. Currently reading the preface and have already found an interesting quote. I am truly a person who loves quotes so tend to be drawn to them. He said, “It is not the child who is taught about love but the child who has experienced love that grows into a healthy, happy, well-adjusted adult.” Words to live by. 🙂