Mentorship: Supporting A Reflective Practice

Our Approach to Mentoring

We believe there is tremendous potential for human flourishing through education, which is why we place so much time and value on mentoring. The purpose of the mentoring component of our program is to support grads in the ownership and development of a truly reflective teaching experience.


The mentor’s role is to support grads in sustaining their identity, history, beliefs, values, and vision of education. The mentor-mentee relationships are developed to enable grads to critically examine their positionality, deepen their understanding of equity, and consider the implications for themselves and their students. We engage in strengths-based, appreciative inquiry into a grad’s teaching practice, creating the space for grads to examine the relationships between theory, practice, and the teaching self.


Ultimately, each mentor is asking – what does this particular grad need to thrive?

What This Actually Looks Like

Each grad is paired with an IslandWood mentor that works with them individually for the duration of the program. The mentor and grad student will meet weekly in a one-on-one setting to reflect on the grad’s previous week and plan for the upcoming week. Mentors will act as a sounding board for the exploration of the grad’s thoughts and ideas while also reflecting back to the grad student the growth the mentor is observing in the grad’s teaching practice.

Arc of Practice and Synthesis Weeks

Mentorship and practicum work in tandem over successive two-week iterative cycles. Grads spend their practice week teaching our School Overnight Program and then follow that with a synthesis week — a week of coursework, theory, and collaboration. Mentorship serves as a supportive context and connective thread between the practice and synthesis weeks.

Goals of the Mentoring Relationship

While there are many goals of the mentor/grad relationship, we feel these are the most critical:

  • Grads develop as confident, reflective, and resilient practitioners possessing deep understandings of teaching and learning.
  • Grads are empowered as valued practitioners, and their diverse contributions to the profession are recognized and shared.
  • Grads are sustained in their identities and vision of themselves and of education.
  • Grads possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to disrupt inequities and enact culturally sustaining curricula.

The Grad Perspective

“My experience with mentorship was truly one of the most supportive, challenging, and joyful things about the program for me.” In this blog post from Kellan, Class of ’22, she shares her five biggest takeaways from the mentor component of the program.

“I’m really lucky to be in a community that is able to consistently work with me on my practice and help me grow as an educator.”

– Rach B, IslandWood Graduate Program