teacher as mentor
Wayfinder isn't like normal school lessons and neither are our teachers. We think they are more akin to mentors. This page outlines some of the things you can do to nurture a safe and connected mentoring relationship with your students.
The most important aspect of a student's Wayfinder journey is the connection they make with the person who is teaching it... you.
- Share stories. Connect with your students by sharing your own why and your journey. Experiment with showing up as authentic and real.
Experience it first.
- Lead from personal experience. The best way to prep for teaching a Wayfinder lesson is to experience the activities yourself.
Make it relevant.
- Avoid autopilot. Customize the Wayfinder experience for your students. Think about how you might motivate students without the incentive of a grade.
Ask big questions.
- Offer students the opportunity to explore unanswerable questions. Support students to practice working with discomfort and uncertainty.
- Connect students to real world people and places. Support them to connect with a diverse group of peers + adults who help them expand their notions of what a meaningful life looks like.
Be a Wayfinder yourself.
- Create meaning and purpose in your own life as an ongoing, daily practice.
Space refers to both the physical and cultural space that Wayfinder lessons will occur in. These are things that should be put in place right at the start of your Wayfinder year.
Curate the space.
- Prime students to be in a different space mentally. Change the layout of chairs and tables. Set up speakers for music. Think about how you might make it feel more intimate even in a large room.
Co-curate the culture.
- Take time to set your Wayfinder class culture and develop a mutual understanding of how group sharing will work. Empower students to design the space, lead a starter, write on the board.
Build Community Agreements.
- Ask students to honor community agreements: be fully present, speak from the “I” perspective, suspend judgement of self and other, lean into discomfort, honor confidentiality. Wayfinder's Community Agreements can be found at the front of all Wayfinder Toolkits and you can also read more about by clicking on the "Agreements + Experiments" tab to the left of this page.
Wayfinder's curriculum asks students to reflect on and explore some topics which some students might find challenging. It is paramount that you create a safe environment for your students, both in your relationship with them and their relationship with one another.
- Make openness a habit. Establish a ritual to set the tone: start and end each session with a check-in, use a fun prompt to get things started, show support for someone who is struggling.
Show you care.
- A trusting and supportive relationship will greatly impact a student’s experience in the classroom. Invite individual check-in times with each student throughout the course of the curriculum to show you genuinely care about their growth.
Respond to trauma.
- Name the potential for difficult topics ahead of time. If a student is triggered, take time to be with them outside of the classroom and help them calm. Know your schools resources and protocol.