With that type of title, you are probably wonder what this blog post will be about. For those of you that are following this blog because you are curious about starting a PhD program or just curious about my journey so far. Today my so called “drama” is finding/developing an appropriate title for my upcoming dissertation study. I am at the point in my proposal writing as a PhD student that I need to come up with a title for my forthcoming study. How is that after writing up over 76 pages of a dissertation that I don’t have one coherent title? How does one “wrap it” all up in one title? The pressure of basically saying it all in a few words is overwhelming. There is always the title that features the famous “colon.” However, of course you want to be “witty” and “smart” and have some deep metaphorical meaning behind the actual words. Ha! Who am I kidding?! I think my “wit” went out the door on page 1 of my writing process. However, as I will be sitting here contemplating this title for the next couple of hours, I will reflect on the importance of a title and how you can “lose it” or “win it” all in a few words. This is at least easier in some ways then coming up with a varied title for every single conference abstract you submit.
Actually, my blog post isn’t about my PhD student “title drama.” However, I was reflecting on how to inspire and mentor. I came into this PhD program with a bigger goal of wanting to go into the business of “mentoring” teachers. Of course I have aspirations to further research etc. and as I go deeper and deeper into the literature I imagine the possibilities for me in terms of research in the future. However, as I have realized in my experiences, mentors are critical and there often aren’t enough. I have been very fortunate in my time as a teacher to be continually in the presence of a mentor. I have had some amazing mentors from the ones back in my teacher education days. Mike, my first real mentor, has been an amazing inspiration to me. He still cheers me on from the sidelines after all of these years.
I tell my teachers to find a mentor early in their career. It might be a peer or it might be just a more experienced teacher or someone that just inspires you. The reality is this person is someone that will support you from behind. I am certainly not an expert at this. However, I have noted from my experiences with people I consider mentors that these individuals encourage and support in little but large ways. These people are leaders. They don’t have to be in leadership positions to lead. However even in small ways they push people to be the best they can be. If you are in a PhD program or teaching in a school, mentors are a critical part of any journey.