By Caroline Smith, Educational Advisor in charge of the Mentoring Program at the Center de services scolaire de Montréal
March 12, 2020. Like all of you, my daily life has been turned upside down.
(Do not turn off your device!)
Of course, the weeks and months that followed were anything but a long quiet river. From uncertainty is born adaptability and its cousin, agility. For education stakeholders, this pandemic was a unique opportunity to make a spectacular leap forward, particularly in terms of technology.
This creative effervescence and its effervescence carry us, even today, in a world of work in full transformation.
In March 2020, a pandemic struck when a new mentoring program was born at the Educational Services of the CSS de Montréal. This innovative CSS project has also been taken up by the government in the brand new teachers' collective agreement.
Mentorship in the time of the pandemic
Overnight, the Microsoft Teams platform became my main working tool to support remotely new teachers that I barely knew and who, for the most part, were newly integrated into our CSS or even into the Quebec education system. !
You can imagine the precariousness of their situation when our professional lives changed from a distance, when they were only at their very first experiences in class in an establishment in the youth sector (in Quebec).
I remember one evening in April 2020 when a teacher from Tunisia asked me - myself - if she was making the right choice by taking the last flight that would take her to her family, whom she had left a few months earlier ...
This link that crosses the screen
From individual meetings to group meetings, together we went through the various stages that led to this return to class in elementary school, then in secondary school. Between adults, we have succeeded in creating links, even from a distance, to discuss precisely these strategies to put in place to preserve the teacher-student relationship, regardless of the working method. You should also know that this issue is still very much present today, this recent webinar of Montreal Success Network reports.
What about digital competence in all of this?
My professional development has never been so sustained, while my usual support work continued.
Virtual meetings in small groups became moments of professional development where everyone could practice in a safe space. From the creation of an online code of ethics, community members have had the chance to discover a variety of technological tools so that they can, in turn, offer distance education that makes them students active in their learning. It is clear that we have all developed greater ease with technology. But what is even more remarkable is this recent desire to deepen digital competence in all its dimensions rather than being limited to technological skills and, above all, training to face the human challenges raised by digital technology.
This famous ethical citizen in the digital age, who is he?
Communicate with authenticity
The waves followed one another and my support became more efficient thanks to the new working methods (hybrid work). However, experts warn us against the phenomenon of dehumanization which would have increased during the pandemic and whose consequences would affect interpersonal communications.
Technology makes us all faster, but is it at the expense of how we relate to others? (Listen Benoit Petit on this.)
For my part, I am convinced that the reinforcement of human skills, in a reflective approach, is a way to privilege to better collaborate, create and communicate using digital technology. Studies show that being yourself in your relationships generates confidence and improves communication; this frame of mind seems to me a promising avenue which must be explored further if we want to achieve a certain elevation of the human through digital technology, and we all have a duty to believe in it for generations to come.
On October 4, I went to the theater: it was a reunion night with the first cohort of the mentoring program.
“It is always easier to demand trust from others than to inspire trust in others! Building confidence is a daily task that should never be taken for granted. "
- Marc-André Girard (LinkedIn account)