Mentoring New Instructors is a Win-Win for Mentor and Mentee
ICA is all about our becoming better indoor cycling instructors. One of the ways we can become better ourselves is to help new instructors when we get the chance. Mentoring gives great benefit not only to the new instructor but to the mentor as well. It is a great win-win for all involved—if it’s done correctly.
Teaching is one the best ways I know to learn. To teach someone else, you must completely break down your own knowledge of the material. You must examine your unchallenged assumptions. You must find multiple ways to convey the same information. You must be ready to accept, and deal with, inconsistencies in your thinking. You must do all of these things to be a good mentor to a new instructor. And I’ve not even yet addressed the ways that mentoring benefits the new instructor. (More on that in a bit.)
You don’t need to have a formal mentoring system to be a mentor to a new instructor. All you need to do is offer help in a kind and respectful way. “Hey, I understand you are new. I remember how that felt. If you’d ever like to talk, or even co-teach a class, let me know.”
I am lucky to be a mentor in a more formal situation. At the Des Moines, Iowa, YMCA, new instructors are referred to me as part of their on-boarding process. If the new instructor has prior teaching experience, my role is mostly to explain our teaching philosophy and to help them with small technical or procedural questions. However, if the new instructor is brand-new to teaching, it can be an important and ongoing learning experience.