My Mentor Finds Me

Strange how we go about our daily lives thinking we know everything. We go to school or work every day filling up our brains with knowledge and experience. Then suddenly it happens out of the blue, we meet someone and say to ourselves, how did that happen; we are a good fit to work together. Well that is how it went when I talked to Shelley Rust my ACTE 2019 Fellowship mentor the other day.

Shelley is a culinary teacher and past President of Indiana ACTE. Like me, she is a career changer and found teaching to be her calling, once she realized she could pass on her knowledge and skills of cooking to her students. As soon as she started talking about the food industry and her passion for her craft, I mentioned just finishing up Kitchen Confidential by the late Anthony Bourdain.

“Is all that stuff true that Bourdain writes about in his book,” I asked?

“That is not even the half of it. John, I could tell you some stories, but I don’t want to scare you with the characters I use to work with; since I just met you, first impressions count,” Shelley laughed.

We continued to swap stories of our transition into teaching; talking about the energy we get from our students and some of the frustrations of working in public education.  Then the nitty gritty talk happened and the questions just flowed out without stop:

Is the mentorship program hard?

How much time does it take?

Do you think I am make it?

What about my work and life balance?

How hard are the assignments?

Will I be graded?

Is there a test at the end?

Are there any CliffsNotes for this program?

Shelley just listened and said slow down and don’t worry, you can make it. If you made this far you are already half way there. Naturally, I wanted all the answers right away, but my mentor reminded me by asking, do you want to just sit watching life pass you by or do you want to jump and make a change?

I answered, hope the parachute works!