This year, I mentored a woman that I simply didn’t click with.  I found her insecurity disturbing (I am sure it mirrored some of my unspoken insecurities), and I found my responses to her inquiries fraught with frustration.  Ultimately, she ended up leaning on one of my colleagues for support.  This worked out fine… but I felt guilty, like I had let my own personal feelings influence the way I treated her and the way I did my job.

This evening, my phone rang, and it was the mentee.  She hasn’t called me since the second week of school, so I grabbed the phone.  Turns out, she read her reviews on–and some students slammed her.  Please note that ratemyprofeessor SUCKS, because students are not required to back up their claims about their professor’s teaching–so the haters  hop on there to, well, hate.  Back to the story… she was upset.  They hurt her feelings.

So, I spent the next 20 minutes explaining why ratemyprofessor does not offer a solid evaluation of her teaching, reminding her that she should put her energy into planning for next semester, and noting how valuable her university evaluations (completed by all her students… not just the haters) will be when she makes adjustments in her teaching style and strategy.

And, after the conversation, she seemed to feel better.  And so did I.  I am really grateful that I got to redeem myself in this situation and to mend that fractured relationship.  Totally didn’t see that coming.  Pretty cool.

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