Jodie Pierpoint on episode 243 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast
From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis
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Emerging administrator leaders and administrators are participating in an emerging leadership virtual mentorship program created by Jodie Pierpoint and many volunteers. Learn about this program, how you can join in, and how you can become a better mentor.
Virtual Mentorship for Emerging Leaders
Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e243
Date: January 31, 2018
Vicki: Mentorship! It can be so hard to find a mentor, even to be a mentor.
Now some schools have official mentor programs, but our guest today Jody Pierpont @jodiepierpoint, an educator from Ohio, has a virtual mentorship program that she’s working with. She blogs and talks all about mentorship.
So Jody, tell us a little bit about what you’re doing.
Jody: Thank you, Vicki! I’m very excited to be here talking about this program.
I started this program in the summer of 2017. It started just as a whim. I had such wonderful mentors in my life, and as I started — I’m an aspiring school leader — and as I said, I’ve had wonderful mentors.
As I’m looking for a job I said there had to be more people like me that were also struggling to look for that perfect admin position, and what could I do to help other people.
There had to be more people like me looking for help
So what I did was I tweeted things out. I started blogging about it. I said, “Who’s like me? Who needs somebody to be on their side to help them look for some admin type positions?”
So I was very humbled. Over 20 people responded to me. I was looking for maybe four or five people. Twenty aspiring people just like myself responded to me. I said, “Oh! Now I have to find mentors!”
So then I blogged again, and I found another 20 people from around the United States. I set up this virtual mentorship program, where aspiring school leaders are set up with current school leaders K-12.
We have webinars, and we have one-one-one. They’re paired with whatever they are interested in going into. So whether it’s elementary or district leadership or high school leadership, and they have these organic one-on-one conversations outside of their brick-and-mortar buildings, and outside their own (mentorship).
Maybe they have mentorship within their own schools, but now they have these organic, one-to-one personalized mentorships with mentors outside that they are having some great conversations with.
Personalized mentorships with mentors outside their building
Vicki: OK, so how long has this been going?
Jody: We started in August of this year, so August 2017. My hope is to go with this cohort of people until about May or June. If it takes off, we’ll get another cohort of people for next year.
Vicki: So what are the results you’re seeing so far? What are people saying about this mentoring relationship that’s emerged?
Jody: Oh, there’s a lot of positive feedback from both the mentors and the mentees. What’s really exciting is we’re doing webinars about twice a month. We have 16 topics that we’re talking about.
People outside of this cohort are joining the webinars. So I’m getting positive feedback from not only in the cohort, but people outside the cohort, too.
People outside of this cohort are joining the webinars
People are joining. They’re responding, they’re getting the information our mentors are sharing. They’re just adding so much value and resources that people — not only aspiring leaders — are looking for, but people on the job hunt.
We just recently had a webinar on relationships, and why relationships in schools are so important. Anybody could have joined that. A lot of positive feedback came from these webinars.
Vicki: So these aspiring leaders… all 20 of them are looking for jobs? Is that basically it? Are they all finding jobs? How’s that going?
Jody: Right now, most of the cohort will be looking for jobs here starting in January. They’re aspiring now, so the hope would be to find them jobs. Or maybe they’re happy in their classroom now being a teacher, but all all of them are either attaining or will be looking for jobs this spring.
Vicki: You are passionate about mentoring. Why? It’s not just about the job search, is it.
Jody: No. Like I said, I have had wonderful mentors in my life. But I’m also a mentor, so it’s not just me finding somebody to mentor me. I think it’s also important to give back, as well.
It’s important to give back
No matter what stage we are in in our careers, I think it’s important to share those experiences and help grow somebody else.
So although I’m an aspiring school leader, and I need that guidance from somebody else, it’s important for me to give back as an educator for 17 years to share what I know about special education and about teaching.
So although I’m being mentored, I’m also mentoring other people. I have somebody that I’m mentoring right now that is a special education teacher. This is her fourth year teaching, so it’s all about that relationship that you form and how you can help each other out.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to talk and share experiences and grow and introduce people to each other. We’re in a situation now that we can jump on social media and share and grow with each other, and my goal is to be able to connect people.
Vicki: So all of this is just free and organic, and this is like your hobby.
Jody: It is. This is. It’s all happening outside of school… (laughs)…outside of my typical work day. I’m a special education teacher. I’m teaching, and I come home and I’m planning this. All my mentors are doing this totally on their own and on their free time. Of course all my mentees, the aspiring leaders have volunteered to do this, too, because they want to learn and they want to grow.
Vicki: Oh, it’s so exciting! I can see your face. Our listeners can only hear your voice.
What have you learned through this process?
Jody: I think the most important thing that I have learned is that there are so many people that want to give back and help the next generation. I think that is what has been so inspiring for me.
I keep saying this. I could give a shout out to so many people right now.
I’m part of a blogging tribe, and they’ve done so much for me. When you reach out to people and they say, “I’ll help you! What do you need?”
People will volunteer to help you
Then when you think that this is all that they’re willing to grow. We’re no longer in this stagnant area that people say you know, you go to school, you get your license, you move on.
Mentorship is about helping other people, and I’ve really found that people are embracing that. They just love helping other people. That’s what inspires me, encourages me and motivates me to keep going. It just makes my heart happy! (laughs)
Vicki: Have you ever seen a mistake in a mentorship relationship that maybe doesn’t work out? What are the most common mistakes or problems that could cause it to not work out?
Jody: I think sometimes you have that. If you don’t have a good pairing with each other, that definitely could happen. In one of my pairings right now, it’s not a strong pairing.
I think you have to be able, as a mentee, to realize that it’s your job to learn from your mentor. But I think the mentor also — this is a learning experience for them as well — so the mentor necessarily has to embrace that they’re going to learn as well.
I think that’s the biggest thing. They both have to embrace the process. If both people aren’t embracing the process and the experience and the relationship, that’s where things start falling apart.
Both mentor and mentee have to embrace the learning process
It’s not a leadership, “I’m the one with the experience, you listen to me.” It’s an organic partnership of learning together.
Vicki: So about how much time a week does it take when you have a successful pair?
Jody: I think it’s not about time. I think it’s just that you consistently know that you have that person that you can reach out to. You can text. You can Vox. You can Skype. You can Google Hangout. You can write a letter.
I’m maybe in contact with some of my mentors maybe once or twice a week, because I know if I have a question, I can send them a quick question and they’ll answer me right away.
I think that if you find that person that you have a good relationship with, it’s not necessarily someone that you sit down with and have a 30-minute conversation with. It’s a, “I trust you. What’s your opinion on this? OK,” and you have that.
What’s neat about this program that I’ve made is that it’s all virtual. These people might not ever see their mentors face to face, but they have that connection. They have that time that they can sit down and ask true questions, where they might not be able to do if you’re hooked up with a mentor in your building. You might not be able to ask as freely about questions that you might have.
Vicki: OK, educators, so we’ve given us another way to build our PLN, virtual mentoring.
This is a great example of virtual mentoring for emerging leaders, just something that people are doing on the side to help. It’s organic, and I guess you could say viral, in some ways. It’s just pretty much word of mouth.
Check the Shownotes if you’re interested in this particular program or finding out more from Jody about how you can start your own. I think that in today’s modern era we need to find creative ways to connect and learn from one another.
Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio as submitted
Jodie Pierpoint is and aspiring school leader has a strong passion for helping others. Jodie has been an educator for 18 years serving as a special education teacher (at both the high school and elementary levels) and as a high school senior counselor. During her career, Jodie created and organized Ohio’s first Special Education based EdCamp (@SpEdCampOH) and has presented several professional learning opportunities for educators including Ohio Education Technology Conference (OETC) and several EdCamps. Jodie has created a nationwide virtual mentoring program for aspiring school leaders that in its first year had over 25 participants.
Building relationships and online resources has become something that Jodie utilizes and shares regularly. She has created a website to share resources to help educators at www.SparkEdServices.com. Additionally, she is part of the #compelledtribe blogging community at https://jodiepierpoint.blogspot.com. Jodie holds graduate degrees in school administration & school counseling from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (special education specialization) from Muskingum University. Jodie resides outside of Columbus, Ohio.
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