Qualities of an Outstanding Teacher
Teachers form the core of the Mentor Matching Engine. Connecting students to professional mentors is an enhancement to excellent classroom instruction,guidance, and experiential learning that teachers use to shape their students. Teachers are called to a great deal each time they step into a classroom. The Mentor Matching Engine is designed to support teachers and students to practice authentic research in a monitored virtual environment. The following are qualities of teachers who can best benefit from the Mentor Matching Engine:
Outstanding Teachers: Know students and class objectives: Teachers are the experts on their classrooms. Consider where, when and how an authentic research experience can be used to shape student learning. The way one teacher uses the Mentor Matching Engine may not be the same as another. The system is designed to be flexible in order to meet teachers' needs. Also remember to stay involved with your students' project and mentoring experience by reviewing comments and posts, reminding the students to post frequently and reply in a timely fashion, and encouraging students to get the most out of their mentoring experience.
Model Collaboration: When teachers are able to work along-side students as a co-investigator, everyone benefits. Students gain real world experience when teachers and mentors collaborate with Students to solve problems. Implement student research in many ways: Student research can happen in an existing core content class, an elective, a stand-alone research class, as an independent study, or an after school program. Mentors are available to participate in all of these contents with clear expectations from the teacher.
Ask for help when needed: We want MME to be a beneficial tool for teachers and students. The teams at the the Illinois Science & Technology Institute as well as the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy want teacher feedback and are available to troubleshoot areas of difficulty. Feel free to contact us at any time. Admin@mentormatchingengine.org and the Contact Us link on the MME log in page are both ways to provide feedback and ask for help.
Share what works: Let us know how the system is working and can work better to enhance teaching and learning.
Monitor Student/Mentor Relationships: Each teacher has the ability and responsibility to monitor the interactions between students and mentors. If communication is not occurring in a timely fashion or if an interaction could be more helpful, the teacher should communicate directly with the mentor. If further assistance is needed teachers will contact the Mentor Supervisor or the Mentor Matching Administrative team. As always, teachers will have the safety and well being of their students at the forefront of any learning endeavor. Teachers assume full responsibility related to their student's projects including, but not limited to, safety.
Comply with local school district obligations: Each school district has slightly different regulations and expectations for mentors. Though the Mentor Matching administrative team can be helpful, we rely on teachers and administrators to administer compliant practices.
Look for teaching opportunities: Educational opportunities are infused throughout the Mentor Matching Engine. Developing a guiding research question or problem statement, writing a letter of introduction to a mentor, negotiating shared expectations, and communicating about the R&D process are a few of the points at which teachers can use the Mentor Matching Engine to encourage student learning.
Show appreciation for volunteer mentors: Industry and university mentors have many demands on their time and choose to participate in student learning through the Mentor Matching Engine. Help students by modeling clear expectations within a working relationship. Encourage students to go into video conferencing or virtual interactions prepared, putting their best work forward. Let mentors know how their participation has impacted the students' and your own learning. Encourage students to show appreciation to their mentors by updating them regularly on the progress of their project, letting them know the end result or culmination of the project and thanking them for their time.
Take advantage of the opportunity: Mentors on MME are eager to help and are an excellent resource for students, so it is important to help your student get the most possible engagement and experience on MME.
Come with an open mind: We are all here to learn.