Mentoring the next generation of GP tutors

I received a surprising phone call this morning. It was from one of my ex-students, and since I’ve been helping some of my ex-students from last year work through their personal statements for their university applications, I half-expected it to be one of them. But she wasn’t; she was my ex-student from 6 years ago! Here’s the conversation:

My ex-student, J: “Hi Mr Irwin, this is J, I was from your pioneer batch in 2009, remember me?”

Me: (scratching head and trying furiously to recall because I think I must have taught seven students with that same name, J, before): “Uh, nope, but remind me who you are =)”

J: “I attended your very first GP tuition class when Irwin’s Study first started out and in an interesting twist of events, I’m now training to be a GP teacher in MOE! The reason I’m calling is that I remember vividly how much I’ve enjoyed and benefited from your lessons, and now that I’m going to be a teacher, I hope to have an inspiring mentor to guide me in my journey. Can you be my mentor? I want to learn how to teach with passion like you, inspire my students to think deeply and critically about life issues, and most importantly, to be values-centric in my teaching approach. You’ve taught me all these and I hope I can continue to learn from you and even sit in your classes for lesson observations, if that’s ok with you.”

I’ve always thought that as long as my students benefited from my lessons; as long as they receive assistance for their examinations from me; as long as they learn to think through issues critically,; my influence ends there. Never did I expect that I would have the privilege and opportunity to mentor a young teacher at the beginning of her journey and who comes not because of organizational needs, but because of what she had experienced during our lessons in the past. For me, this is truly an amazing reminder of what it means to pass down our legacy, mentor the next generation, and multiply ourselves. Although this is in a secular context, I am reminded of 2 Timothy 2:2 –

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

2 Timothy 2:2

I pray I can rise to this task, knowing that one day, my student’s students may also approach her to mentor them. =)