JNTP: How did you hear about JNTP? What was your reaction when you heard that you would be participating in the mentoring program?
LH: I was approached by my principal at the time, Rabbi Scot Berman, who thought I would be a good fit for JNTP and that I would benefit from participating. I was excited to be part of the program. I felt it would play to my strengths (I have a Master's Degree in both Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership) and would be a great opportunity to expand my professional abilities.
JNTP: What is your greatest takeaway from JNTP?
LH: I have two: 1. Mentoring can support a new and/or struggling teacher to become a stronger, better, more professional teacher. It enables the potential to transform into the actual. 2. Mentoring is transformative for both mentor and participant.
JNTP: What is your favorite memory from the pilot year?
LH: I really have two memories that stand out. First, I remember our first retreat in Tarrytown, NY in the fall of 2003. It was a very different experience in so many ways. The accommodations were lovely (very different from an auditorium, classroom, or lecture hall!), and the expectations were high; it was a portal into a different kind of professionalism. The experience was intense, but it was also a great bonding experience. In fact, I am still connected with many of my compatriots, 20 years later!
Second – and this was pretty funny – it was clear that the New Teacher Center facilitators were not accustomed to working with the Jewish community. They were taken off guard by a) how much we wanted to talk/argue/question/process, and b) how important food was to us! I think it was a real learning experience for them as well as for us. On a more serious note, it crystallized for me how important unwritten/cultural norms are when working with others, either individuals or groups. To maximize growth and change, you really need to know your audience. This may be a "duh," but I still don't think it can be overstated.
JNTP: Any final thoughts?
LH: I am now an Instructional Coach with two organizations: BetterLesson and TalentEducators. My training with JNTP has been an invaluable foundation. Thank you to AVI CHAI for the opportunity to grow in this important area.