OMAET Book Notes – Monitoring by Gordon Shea

Personal Mentoring Reflections:


The following are notes that I wrote as part of a class assignment for a class in Mentoring. Enjoy.

Pivotal times and the person(s) who played a part, hmmmm, I know that Shea said that one shouldn’t think about external events. Here’s a run-down on the cast of characters (as best as I can currently remember, and this is without doing any drugs in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s . . . ):

1967-68 – 4th grade (?) – Mr. Marks, first teacher that I remember who read a chapter book to us and made the reading come alive (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). Actually, he’s the first adult that I even remember reading to me. I’m sure that my Kindergarten and/or 1st grade teachers probably took a stab at “The Ugly Duckling” but apparently no long-term neurons fired during those sessions. Little wonder that reading and books were more a bother to me until high school.

1974 – 15-years-old – funny thing is that I can’t remember the guy’s name (it’s in a journal somewhere I’m sure), Bible-study leader, young guy, only a couple of years old then me. He played a pivotal role as a leader, basically we were on the same page one night in April 1974 when he looked at me at a home bible-study and said that God had a special gift for me. That led to a 15-year journey of discovery and searching. Actually, this guy only intervened one other time (helped get me started on the bible-quest), but other than that I had almost no interaction with him. So I’d define him more as a being a catalyst like element but not really being a mentor. Interestingly, while there were teachers and adults whom I listened to, I never really ever fell under the tutelage of anyone person for the entire time. Even as a 15-year-old, I gravitated toward like minded friends and we formed our own “leadership” without the benefit of adult organizations, structures or prejudices.  (January 24, 2002 01:20 PM – his name was Greg).

1976 – 1978 – Religious Studies major at Loyola Marymount University,

1978 – 1981 – Biblical studies BA at Biola University

1984 – 1985 – Theology MA at Fuller Seminary (not completed)

1986 – 1991 – Communications-News-Editorial BA at CSU Fullerton

1993 – 1995 – Teaching Credential/CLAD – Chapman University

 – Ok having begun this journey largely leaderless, I found myself a born-again among Catholics at LMU and then a much wiser academic (compared to my adolescent beginnings) among fundamentalists at Biola & Fuller. As I mentioned before, there were teachers many but no one whom I’d call a mentor.

1979 – 1994 Pacific Bell, summer-hire Frame Attendant, 15-year Communications Technician, accidental career. My sister knew someone in the personnel department, I just wanted a job, they liked my work-ethic and I found a temporary 15-year career. There was a group of us who came into the company and same department around the same time and we all did the same training classes but there wasn’t any formal apprenticeship or tutelage.

1995, Spring – Katherine Harmon. Long-term sub 6th grade, first full-time teaching position, Katherine was the other 6th grade teacher. She was the mega-year veteran who knew the “painless ways” of getting things done.

1997-2001 Lon Brunk. Lon and I were both up for the same District Technology Director job. He got the job (thank god!). I met him after he got the job when he’d come to my school to help us get started with our Magnet grant. This was the guy that took the job that I wanted and I should have kept him at a distance but we immediately found a kindred spirit in each other. While he never actually “took me under his wing,” because of his more years of service and friendship, it was nice having a friend in a High Places. Over my years as Tech-Coordinator, it was great being able to drop by his office or contact him and get assistance. He was the only one in the district office or admin or on my site who really understood what I did and the burden of my job. When I left my old district it was definitely time, but I wasn’t looking forward to going to a place where I didn’t have the district technology director’s ear. He was the model for me of someone having to do the political job of keeping all these admin prima donnas happy and move the district’s technology forward with an impossibly over-flowing schedule. He’s the man!

Dad. I wasn’t going to include Dad because he was never the “hey, let’s go fishing together” kind of guy who tended to communicate that we were more tolerated than wanted. His universal response to our childish and adolescent tendency toward messing things up was the rhetorical “can’t you do anything right?!” Needless to say, this didn’t foster any sense of being or wanting to be mentored by the man. That was my first thought regarding “mentoring” and my father. Then I started thinking about the long hours that I tend to put in, often leaving with the evening janitor. I have a particular high level of expectation in my self and my work that doesn’t even think about long hours and expects the same from my fellow participants. So I’ve definitely “followed” in his footsteps. Of course, those endless afternoons working with him pruning trees as a pre-teen were so aggravating that it taught me that I’m often better off working alone than aggravating others. JBB



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