by Bill Flechtner
JEA Mentoring Committee
For the first time, new JEA mentors were trained as a part of the JEA Advisers Institute in Las Vegas in July. Previously, mentors had been trained at the JEA/NSPA conventions. Linda Barrington and I led the training session in Las Vegas.
Here is an introduction to the mentors, in their own words.
Phyllis Cooper spent 29 years teaching English — Six at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and 23 at A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina. She spent 17 of those years also teaching journalism and advising the school newspaper, Cedar Cliff Notes, at A.C. Reynolds High School.
On being a mentor: “I remember how lost I felt when I took over the newspaper class in the spring of 1995 from a much-loved teacher who left the profession to pursue a career in nursing. More than a decade in an English classroom did not prepare me for the cut-and-paste layout process not to mention the intricacies of AP style. I was so fortunate that Dr. Kay Phillips, the Director of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association, was just a phone call away. She was my mentor. I hope I will be able to assist a new media adviser half as much as Kay helped me. I look forward to helping a mentee love the excitement and the challenges of teaching journalism.”
On using the training: “My first responsibility is to secure mentees. I will use suggestions made during mentor training, such as contacting local principals or superintendents to inform them of the program. Once I have a mentee, I hope to be a good listener to learn how I may be of use.”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “In addition to being in exciting Las Vegas, the best part of the training experience was meeting and working with the other mentor trainees. I liked having the training in Las Vegas, but I did not get a chance to have much contact with the advisers attending the institute. I met a few at breakfast, but did not form any real connections. It was convenient to have the JEA leaders available to talk about the new curriculum, etc.”
Carol Eanes was an adviser for 18 years in North Carolina: West Davidson High School, Tyro (yearbook), Burlington Williams High School, Burlington (newspaper), East Surry High School, Pilot Mountain, (intro to journalism, yearbook, newspaper), East Rowan High School, Salisbury (yearbook), and Pender High School, Burgaw (yearbook).
On being a mentor: “I want to ignite the passion that I have for journalism in someone else. I am looking forward to finding a mentee who realizes how great teaching journalism is and wants to be an adviser for years to come.”
On using the training: “Studying the materials that were presented, I realized that I would have been so much better at advising and working with my students if I had had a mentor. I hope to make life easier for my mentees and lead them toward a great relationship with our wonderful state organization. (NCSMA)”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “The best part of the training was jumping back into the world of journalism and rekindling my passion for (it). Even though we did not interact with other advisers except at breakfast, I was able to meet other North Carolina advisers and network briefly. I still cannot believe that we were lucky enough to be able to experience Las Vegas during our training!”
Sue Farlow is a Certified Journalism Educator through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught workshops both at national conventions and regional workshops and at the Summer Institute at UNC-CH. She taught English for 29 years — 25 of those were at Asheboro High School in Asheboro, where she taught journalism and advised the school newspaper the Ash Hi Chat (started in 1928) for 25 years and taught yearbook and advised Ash Hi Life for 13 years.
On being a mentor: “What drew me to becoming a mentor was my own first two struggling years. I want to be able to help new teachers navigate through those first two years. I am most looking forward to sharing what I learned with my mentees. To reassure them there are resources and help available and they do not need to feel like they are alone with no idea how to proceed.”
On using the training: “One way I see myself implementing the training is by using the language we learned. ‘What I hear you saying…’ is a good example. Additionally I will ensure my mentors know I am not there to evaluate them but to support them and offer the resources available to them.”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “When I started teaching journalism, I didn’t have textbooks much less all that is available to advisers through JEA. The best part (of the institute) for me was having the opportunity to share all the resources available to first-year journalism and yearbook teachers. I would have liked the opportunity to network with others at the (institute). However, the training was very intense and there would have been very little time to do so.”
Nancy Olson retired after 35 years of teaching English at Brattleboro (Vermont) Union High. From 1987 to 1994, she advised The Dial, the BUHS literary magazine. From 1994 to 2014, she taught journalism in the program she initiated and developed, and she advised Extempore, the student newspaper started in 1994. For last eight years of teaching, she was also English department head.
On being a mentor: “When I started out as an adviser, with no training, just determination, I found JEA tremendously welcoming and helpful beyond belief. I’d like to contribute to that ethos.”
On using the training: “First, I have to find mentees; the training has helped me know how to go about that and what I can offer to principals. Finding ways to be helpful to new advisers.”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “The best part was meeting Bill and Linda and meeting the other mentors-in-training. Having the booklet and materials. Knowing how to set up the contract and formalize the arrangement. The institute was fine. It gave more opportunities for mingling with other advisers even if we were doing different stuff. It also allowed us to call on the expertise of Sarah Nichols and Megan Fromm, who were already there, rather than having them make a special trip.”
Mike Riley started advising yearbook and lit mag in 1976, newspaper in 1993, and TV in 1997. He has taught in the Montana State Prison, the Marshall Islands, the Texas School for the Deaf, at the Blackfeet Indian College, and at Cody (Wyoming) High School.
On being a mentor: “I will try to be of help to beginning advisers. I never had anyone until I found JEA, and it would have been so much easier if I’d had a mentor.”
On using the training: “Helping administrators and teachers get off to a solid start — good relationships where everyone understands how great journalism courses are for the whole school and community. I will mentor two teachers in my former district — high school and middle school — and anyone else the state organization wants me to. I am contacting the principals’ organization to inform them of the program. I would also like to contact Montana organizations.”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “I enjoyed meeting a few beginning teachers there and the expertise of the trainers and their teaching methods.”
Stan Zoller has been a teacher and adviser for 15 years in the Chicago area and has worked in media for over 40 years.
On being a mentor: “Mentoring gives the chance to share my expertise and experience with a new teacher and the chance to work with a new teacher as he/she begins a career in journalism education.”
On using the training: “It will definitely provide me the foundation from which to develop an effective mentoring experience.”
On the training and the Advisers Institute experience: “The best part of the training experience was meeting and discussing mentoring with the other new mentors.”