Baton Rouge teachers who lead, help new hires get Mentor of the Year award

Baton Rouge teachers who lead, help new hires get Mentor of the Year award
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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – East Baton Rouge Parish Schools recognizes experienced teachers who excel at training new hires each year. Elementary, middle and high school educators are named Mentor of the Year.

“Each year, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is honored to present the Mentor Teacher of the Year Award to exceptional Mentor Teachers that support our new teachers and engage them in job-embedded professional learning, individualized support, and know the importance of celebrating new teachers’ successes,” said Allison Brown-Lands, EBR Schools Coordinator of Support Programs.

This year’s award recipients are:

Elementary School Level Honorees

Middle School Level Honoree

High School Level Honoree

Credit: EBR Schools

But what does it take to earn this distinguished award?

Gordon shares her insights into being a teacher and mentor for others. She gives the help and supports that she wishes she’d had as a new teacher. The work transforms her too.

Lashaunda Gordon, 2023 Mentor of the Year
Image Credit: Lashaunda Gordon

“She is a phenomenal educator. She truly loves children, is passionate about education and goes out of her way to not only help the children in the building, but the adults in the building to learn,” Raquel Brown, the principal of Woodlawn Middle School, said.

So, what makes Gordon an outstanding mentor?

Tenacity

Gordon has been enjoying her teaching career for nearly 19 years, but education wasn’t her major.

“I started substitute teaching when I graduated from college while looking for a job,” Gordon said. “I ended up doing some long-term subbing in spots where the teacher was out for an extended time.”

She was so good at her job that a Mississippi school principal asked her to stay on as a full-time teacher. But it wasn’t easy. Students had a habit of scaring away instructors.

That said, Gordon stood her ground.

“The kids told me that they ran their last teacher off. So, I had to put on my thick skin and look them in the eyes and tell them that I wasn’t going anywhere,” she said. “Once they saw that I was there to stay, they let down their protective guards and started to love me, just as I loved them.”

Gordon gave students the time, attention, lessons and compassion they deserved. It resulted in classroom success. She’s known for tapping into that same perseverance when mentoring fellow teachers.

Empathy

Gordon said when she first started teaching, she had to “figure things out” on her own. This was so tough she vowed to support other new teachers.

She also explained that being a mentor requires the ability to put herself in another person’s shoes. She uses this mindset to guide the way she interacts with other teachers.

“Mentor teachers are there to explain how things work. Mentees need someone to listen to them when they need to vent, and someone to help them to continuously grow professionally. They need someone who will be there for them every step of the way,” Gordon said. “I didn’t have that when I first started.”

Growth

Helping others has led Gordon to focus on personal growth too.

“Being a mentor has helped me develop my communication and planning skills because I have to conduct monthly meetings with mentees, meet one-on-one with them weekly to discuss their professional development, and plan activities to support them professionally or socially,” Gordon explained.

If she could go back in time and tell herself anything as a new teacher, what would she say?

“Always be kind, firm, consistent, and empathetic,” Gordon said. “Treat your students the way you would want someone to treat your child. Always be willing to learn so as to become an expert at your craft.”

Click here and find out what it takes to become a teacher with EBR Schools.

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About Mary Weyand 14392 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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