Interview with a Mentor - Jamie Meyer

Mentor Interview - Jamie Meyer 7-6-2012
Director of Education - Metropolitan Ministries, Tampa, FL

Jeff — Did the Character GPS program meet your expectations?

Jamie — The Character GPS program definitely met my expectations. My expectations were that it would be an opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and learn more about how to better relate with themselves in the community, and I saw that played out in many ways with that student that I worked with. I though that it was engaging for students and was something that they really grabbed hold of.

Jeff — So in what ways did you observe the program had an impact on some of the negative student behaviors? We work (in each adventure) on bullying, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. — as you were coaching your mentee, did you see those come out?

Jamie — Well I think that I saw the effects of the program in that my student that I mentored is a very positive-natured girl anyway, but over the course of the beginning of the year I saw her get into that negative preteen rut, and I think it helped her focus her energies more positively, which I think is very important for her as a whole so she doesn't get sucked into that negativity.

Jeff — What benefit do you think the Character GPS program has for teachers, principals as well as parents?

Jamie — I think the Character GPS program is an opportunity for a small group — one classroom, two classrooms or a whole school-wide program to speak the same language. That's one of the things I was very impressed with — the students all knew the lingo and the rhymes and the raps and everything that went along with it. I think it's something that should be expanded to be a good school-wide program so that kids when going from class to class, teacher to teacher, are all learneing the same things because they're all teaching the same.

Jeff — Why should a school administrator and teacher make the GPS program a priority?

Jamie — I think Character (education) should be a priority because it is such an integral part of what students really need to learn and grow. All the academics are fundamental, but there is growing research showing that social-emotional intelligence is so critically important and that growing childrens' character is just as important as growing their brains.

Jeff — How would you describe what the Character GPS Adventure learning experience is like?

Jamie — I think the adventure side of things, calling it an adventure, makes it more exciting. I think any time you can get students out of their seats moving, learning, using all different parts of the brain, it's much mroe likely to stick, and that's what we say at the graduation and hopefully we will see beyond — long term. That what they learned wasn't just for today, it was for the future.

Jeff — As a mentor, what was satisfying to you about your mentoring experience in the Character GPS program?

Jamie — Character GPS opened up opportunities for conversation for us. We have always done a lot of reading together and one-on-one conversations, but this gave us a platform to discuss some of the challenging things, really, that she was dealing with in her life. I got to see her instead of complaining about something or being negative about someone, actually having to open up and think about how she could fix that problem and what tools she was going to use to make a difference in that situation.