Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Valued Mentor

     Every summer a half dozen of us meet to have lunch with Cliff. For all of us the feeling is the same that Cliff was a very important mentor in our careers.

Listen to what that other guy is talking about!

    Cliff is about 15 years older than the group. We young guys who came from Saskatchewan to teach in Alberta and needed some support. So Cliff also being from Sask. took us under his wing. Cliff was in his mid forties and had just finished his Education degree and with his experience had lots of good advice for us. We were starting families so he gave more than educational advice but advice in our family life as well. Sometimes there were those small loans of five or ten bucks so that we could survive to the next paycheck.

    Any difficulties we had at school or home could be taken to Cliff.

    Most of us went on to participate in other educational areas. One became a Principal of two very large high schools. One had a long career as an assistant principal. One developed a very successful art program. One was a dept. head for a long time. I became involved in professional activities with the Teachers' association. Cliff would ask if I'd like to go on a committee and recommend it. He could make this committee sound very interesting.This lead to becoming more involved.

    Cliff's influence was quiet but gave one the confidence to move on and take the challenge.

    All this happened in the late sixties and early seventies before mentor ship was thought of by educators. Now mentor ship is a common tool in the development of good teachers. Cliff had the mentor ship idea down to a T long before mentor ship was formally used.

   So we enjoy a lunch and a good visit. We don't dwell on old times but talk about current times.

    So here's to many more good lunches with Cliff.