Byron's Babbles

Reverse Mentoring

Posted in Coaching, Education, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 7, 2011
2010 Wyoming Teacher of the Year

I realize that the buzz word has changed from mentoring to coaching, but I have been advocating reverse mentoring for quite a while now, so I am not changing terminology. In my field of teaching, it seems that everyone is hung up on the tradition that experience equals qualifications and effectiveness. Even though this might be true in some cases, I propose that mentoring goes both ways. In other words teachers with less experience may be more effective teachers and have knowledge/skills to share with those of us with more years experience.

In fact, I’ll be the first to tell you that I would not be where I am today without the learning that has occurred from those with less years experience, but with skills, knowledge, and abilities far exceeding my own. For example, I would not have near the skills using technology to enhance student learning if it were not for a former student, Matt Ladd, who served as our technology guy at my high school. Now, amazingly, I am looked to as a leader using technology. Make no mistake, there were many others, including my students who played a role in moving me into the 21st Century. Just one example of Reverse Mentoring at its best.

The picture I chose for this post is very special because it is of a teacher with nine years experience that I, with 27 years experience, learn from every time I am with. I was blessed to get to know Christina Mills, 2010 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, two years ago during my year as Teacher of the Year. She is amazingly talented and effective in the classroom, and I value every chance I get to be around her. I was thrilled last week when I was a part of the Smithsonian Institution and Pearson Foundation’s Mission Possible: Reimagining the 21st Century Classroom in Washington D.C. and through the door walked Christina. Neither one of us knew the other was going to be there. This four day conference provided plenty of opportunity for learning; much of which came from collaborating with Christina.

So if you are reading this with many years experience in your field, do not forget that those with less years experience may just have more experience in areas you need mentoring. Or, if you are reading this and have limited years experience do not forget you have valuable knowledge to share with those of us with more years. The goal should be to learn from each other. I guess I should call it Two Way Mentoring – learning from each other.

2 Responses

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  1. […] – Reverse Mentoring […]


  2. google said, on August 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I liked your article is an interesting technology
    thanks to google I found you


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