Over spring break, my mentor and I had a total of three meetings and as a result, I was able to make tremendous amounts of progress and finish building the miniature wooden house I’ve been working on. My mentor gave me extensive feedback on what went well and some minor improvements that could be made for future models. One of the recommendations she gave me was to spend fewer time sketching the drafts in order to maximize the time available to build the model. She also suggested to work slightly more faster to ensure I achieve my goal of having at least three wooden models presented on the night of in-depth. While I was working on my project, I realized that everything went by in a blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was already April. Since there’s only a month left until the night of in-depth, I decided to create a wooden model by myself at home. My mentor advocated for something simple and doable that can be completed by our next meeting. Below is how I am expecting the final product to turn out:
Of course, I will need to plan out the measurements by myself but the picture above will be my source of reference.
Below are the answers to the six questions:
1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?
Since woodworking is a hands-on activity, my mentor attempts to give me as much time possible to spend more time building than sketching; though that’s not always the case. Considering the number of times we meet, she recommends we sketch for approximately 2-3 meetings and build for 4-5. Furthermore, in order to receive the best learning environment as possible to work in, my mentor invited me over to her house to work on the project where she has a wooden board, wood glue, safety goggles, tools necessary to cut wood, etc. Through this, I was able to get a clearer vision as to how it would actually be like to work in a tech lab at school and I also didn’t need to spend any money purchasing expensive, new equipment.
2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
The fact that I have access to all of the equipment needed to make my project possible in general makes me feel grateful for the opportunities and privileges I am have. Since this a first-handed experience I’m getting as well as a step back from the books, it’s a new opportunity as well.
3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
Perhaps if I build a model that’s much more complex and difficult compared to the ones I have already made and am making, it will accelerate my learning. Since there’s no point in simply taking on easy tasks just to get it over with, it’s better to take a chance and attempt to build a model that’s more complicated. However, I’m not at the stage yet to be making complex models so maybe I’ll leave that one till the end to do with my mentor.
4. When you get together what do you talk about?
Before every meeting, I discuss with my mentor about my future plans and goals regarding my in-depth project. For instance, last meeting, I suggested to my mentor that I try to build something simple before the next meeting. That way, I’m able to experience and pinpoint my mistakes and weaknesses when I’m in an environment without any help from an experienced person. However, one problem with working at home is the fact that I actually don’t have any safety goggles. Nonetheless, this can be solved by purchasing one or borrowing my mentor’s. Additionally, since the model I’m attempting to make myself is not as complicated and dangerous, I won’t need the fancy tools or anything.
5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?
Between my mentor and I, our teamwork and understanding are outstanding in my personal opinion. When working on a model, my mentor and I seem to have very similar opinions. We both agree on how long it should take for each model to build and the level of difficulty for each model. In terms of understanding, my mentor understands at times when I have to cancel a meeting due a sudden alteration in my schedule or other barriers that arose. It’s also the same other way around. Because my mentor is also a student, it’s quite difficult to try and match each others’ schedules to hold a meeting. Whenever my mentor is cannot make a certain date due to her packed schedule, I make an attempt to be as understanding as possible; especially because I am the learner, not the teacher.
6. What are you learning about one another?
I realized that my mentor and I actually get along quite well and since she is now officially a coach at my academy and we both share the same interests, it’s extremely easy to talk to her about anything regarding wooden models. My mentor learned that I am actually a very outgoing and motivated learner once I am inspired doing a certain task. I learned that my mentor is not only undoubtedly good at debate, she is also extremely passionate in activities she’s good at; for example, wood working.