On Thursday, as my friend Andrew will testify to, …

On Thursday, as my friend Andrew will testify to, I had to go into Sydney University to hand in an assignment and be subject to a second interview as part of a research program on the course I just finished: EDUF3028 Mentoring in Educational Contexts. They shape the course next year according to student feedback from evaluation surveys and the mentor’s interviews. I (covertly) obtained copies of my mentee’s surveys to see what they thought about me and the way I handled the workshops. To my immense surprise, they were overwhelmingly positive, and that’s no lie (trust me, I would have taken pleasure in getting negative feedback to write about).

So, as I mentioned, I had to go in for this interview. The first one was meant to be half and hour, but mine somehow stretched to a tick under a whole hour. I am probably the most ideal test subject because I like to give in-depth and articulate answers to their questions, so generally when I answer, I invariably give the interviewer something to run with, or go off on a tangent with. So I expected this one to be just as long, especially seeings it was a follow-up and partially reflective on what had transpired over the past eight weeks or so.

My interviewer, who was an extremely likable and pleasant person, reported to me at the conclusion of the interview that I had given her, by far, the most positive and self-constructive (the experience being positive for me) feedback out of everyone she had interviewed. I was rather pleased that I could contribute something positive (no pun intended) to the program and, with the honestly (that isn’t really a trait of my) that I brought to that interview, perhaps I will have a hand (through my interview) of shaping the course next year. Because I was told that the vast majority of first and second interviews consisted of “It was ok” and “Yeas” or “No” to the questions that were wide enough to write an essay about.

What my answers consisted off were how good the workshops were, that the mentees had come to me for help for a range of problems and that the preparation and teaching that I did engage in had helped instill some sort of confidence in me that I would have otherwise gone into my practicals next year without. See, I’m rather weak, in fact hopeless, in public speaking roles. I hate the vast majority of speeches (and the only ones I do like are on topics that I’m very proficient in, i.e. Star Wars, CityRail and my current desktop background). So I had a rather large doubt that I could even cut it in a classroom at all, and the only thing I had to gauge myself on was these public speaking roles I had to take part in, whether it be an individual speech or group task. Whatever it was, I was judging myself on those.

But, per my reflections and the surveys that my mentees had me fill out, I wasn’t hopeless at all. In fact, I seemed to be a degree above competent in the Thomas Rating System, by what the surveys said and what I thought I was. It should be noted that the mentees thought that I would never see what they wrote, and that no one was being marked on it, not us or them, and that they were entirely confidential. So they were free to write what they wanted, and they all apparently did – and my performance was to their liking.

So, by the end of Thursday, I was rather pleased with myself. Significantly more pleased than I had been for quite some time to be honest. It was reassuring to have positive feedback in some facet of my life, and to at least know one decision I made, about a year and a half ago, was actually the right one.

Thomas.

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