By Barbara Mauchle
The first time I heard about Philile was at an evening service at Godfirst Montecasino. They were looking for people to join their 94.7 charity cycling team. Well, with my husband being a passionate cyclist and me being passionate about working with and for children I checked out the Philile website and read up a bit on their work & activities.
When, later in the year, we joined GodfirstSandton our site leader’s name struck me as vaguely familiar … searching for the connection I went back to the Philile’s website and was reminded there that he was the founder of Philile in 2008. Since joining Godfirst in winter 2011 I had been looking for ways to get involved but hadn’t quite found what I was looking for. Finding myself back on the Philile website made the difference! What I saw there under “things we need” caught my eye: “sponsorship of off-site language development classes for preschoolers”. Unfortunately, I was not in the position to offer financial support but I thought and hoped I might be able to offer my time and experience. This is how Lauren, Rachel and I got in touch and into talking and exploring different options ….
… until the perfect idea popped up right in front of us and made me jump with excitement: A mentoring program for teachers at Philile! Having had the opportunity to help set up a mentoring program for medical students back in Germany, I know what a difference it can make to have a supportive, experienced partner at your side. Someone who can offer advice, insights & a little bit of know-how, but who most of all uses all that to help the other one grow, develop & advance, detect “sleeping” talents and stimulate the will to explore her very own dream & expectations.
I was so excited then receiving an e-mail from Rachel warmly welcoming me on board and hearing about Lauren’s thoughts on whom to pair me up with. Even more excited was I about Sindie’s and my first get-together), and what a joy and enriching experience it was to then meet!
Sindie is a teacher at Philile Hillbrow and has been working there since it started in 2008. It was so interesting to listen to her remembering the very first beginnings and hear about how Philile Hillbrow has developed since then. Sindie has completed the Play With A Purpose Training with remarkable success and I could hear from her words and see from her sparkling eyes how excited she is to teach! I was overwhelmed by her warm and friendly openness and by her fun, curious & positive personality!
This is what I can offer her: a master’s degree in linguistics focussing on language acquisition and early language development in multilingual environments, three years experience in working with children (ages 3 to 6) in a bilingual German-English day care center, a certificate in Teaching German as a Foreign Language completing my methodological background, the passion to find the optimal way for each individual – as young or old as they have been brought into our lives – to learn & grow.
What Sindie and I seemed to share: that passion, a huge respect for the parents who trust us with their children, a curiosity to learn more about the little person in front of us, and find out the best ways to help them go their way (and dare to set foot on new ones).
In our first meeting, we spent the hour during her lunch-break and the kids’ nap-time getting to know each other and decided on a framework for our mentoring meetings. We will be meeting once a month and in the meantime will be in touch via sms or cell phone. As Sindie wished for feedback on her work and interaction with the kids, we decided to keep meeting on site. For our next meeting coming up the beginning of June, she invited me to sit in on her class, participate where demanded by the kids and spend a bit of time afterwards to exchange immediate feedback.
In addition to that, we will be touching certain issues from the theoretical point of view. Sindie expressed great interest in learning more about how to deal with speech impediments – not being a speech therapist I am more than happy to read & learn up about this myself to be able to give support – as well as recognizing different types of learners and meeting their individual needs – I hope I can offer some insights and visits on-site that will help to apply it and assist with putting methods into practice. Other topics she signalled might be helpful for her work are parent-teacher interactions and, in the long run, support in her studies coming up in July. Sindie is going to undergo further teacher training to qualify for teaching higher levels as wells. What an impressive and ambitious teacher!
Rachel sent me insightful words which describe the mentoring process as one in which a person actively encourages the development of another person [...] for the benefit of both individuals and organization. A good mentoring relationship is where both mentor/mentee enjoy mutual respect and value the joint opportunities for personal development. Mentoring should be supportive, confidential but with the overall aim of making the mentee take increasing responsibility for her development in a questioning and pro-active way.
I pray that God enables me to be such a person for Sindie and I pray that He will help us spot the magnificent opportunities He has sent our way to encourage in whichever way necessary. What an exciting journey there is lying ahead of us!
If this is something that excites you and you would like to get involved, email us at email@example.com