Written by: Shadia Sbait- The Mofet Institute
On May 2022, I participated in the international seminar of the PROMENTORS project in KUL, Lublin- Poland as a member of the coordination team of the project from the Mofet Institute.
The seminar was perfectly organized and included meetings with mentors and mentees, field visits to schools in addition to presentations and lectures that aimed to explain the unique mentoring model in KUL.
The atmosphere of the University was very Christian even for a Catholic Christian like me. Christian symbols were all over the place. Church bells were ringing while we were in the workshops and lectures. At this point in time, it felt like a romantic European atmosphere, and nothing more.
While taking part in the seminar and getting to meet more lecturers from the faculty of pedagogy, meeting schools’ principals and teachers, mentors, and mentees, I realized that they are all related and most of them graduated from KUL, the children of the professors of KUL are pupils in the same schools we were visiting, and they are a large Catholic community!
There are advantages that can be felt in a community which shares the same values. When a mentoring system is being implemented in a community, the importance of sharing the same values in education and in the mentoring process is manifested.
In a well-managed mentorship program mentees will move through defined stages of development. Beginning teachers need to be assisted and accompanied in the journey from survival to improved professional practice and developing a learning community. Mentees need sound advice regarding teaching practice, professional conduct and the culture of the school and community. Beginning teachers often move into communities and schools in unfamiliar areas, these new teachers need to be welcomed and valued as contributing members of the school and the community.
In Lublin, we witnessed a strong Catholic Church community, in which the people share the same beliefs, philosophy and values. This is what makes their mentoring system positive and natural, and this is reflected in the schools, in the classrooms and in the society.
For me, this was one of the most inspirational experiences as a Catholic!