Lunch & Learn provides collaborative learning experience for mentees, mentors

Lunch & Learn provides collaborative learning experience for mentees, mentors


At Lunch & Learn, Susan Newell, MJE, responds to a topic raised by table leader Shawnee Rivera at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. Photo by Olivia Bergmeier

A new professional development opportunity brings together mentees and mentors at the National High School Journalism Convention. The JEA Mentoring Program hosted its first Lunch & Learn session Nov. 19, 2019, as part of the fall convention in Washington, D.C.

“We created Lunch & Learn to provide opportunities for mentors and mentees to get a shared convention experience and participate in something that could benefit them both inside the classroom and in their mentoring,” Mentoring Chair Patrick Johnson, MJE, said.

The fall program focused on leadership, a theme that emerged from asking mentors to identify needs based on observing their mentees. Veteran mentors Linda Barrington, MJE, and Bill Flechtner, MJE, helped Johnson plan and facilitate the two-hour session.

“I liked how it ranged from big ideas about leadership down to specific lessons we can all implement on Monday. My highlight was definitely watching my mentee step up as both a table conversation leader and as a volunteer for Linda’s exercise on the power of positive thinking,” JEA Mentor Julia Satterthwaite, MJE, said.

Participants ranged from second-year teachers to journalism educators with more than 25 years of advising experience, with everyone eating, interacting and learning together.

“I loved Lunch & Learn because we all got to learn from other people — mentees and mentors alike. It really is comforting to hear other people share about their experiences and get feedback from multiple people,” JEA Mentee Shawnee Rivera said. “I especially loved the opportunity to learn from legends in the field. The interactive presentations and feedback session at the end made it a great learning experience.”

Lunch & Learn is just one component of the updated mentoring model, which now includes funding to bring mentees to a national convention with their mentors for an immersive learning experience together.

At the spring convention in Nashville, the program will take place April 17, 2020. Mentors must sign up by Feb. 1 to take advantage of JEA funding for convention registration, airfare and hotel to bring their second- or third-year mentee.

Building and strengthening relationships will continue to be a focus as the program expands.

Johnson said, “Coming to convention as a mentee now provides them with a chance to meet other mentees in person and create a community of acceptance, a wealth of knowledge and a chance to no longer feel alone. Our mentoring program is here to help be a beacon of light and make connections that keep us all afloat.”

Information about how to become a JEA Mentor is available here. New or inexperienced journalism teachers and student media advisers can request a mentor here.


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