In-depth week 7

1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

The only trouble that I have had with my mentor so far, has been finding times which we can meet. Since we both have busy schedules, it can be a bit of a struggle to dedicate more than an hour at a time to our meetings. To make things easier for Señora Galliford (considering she has a small child) we have been meeting every week if possible, but for shorter periods of time. This also allows me to ask a variety of questions, with responses always within a week away. It has worked pretty well so far.

2. What is working well? Why?

My mentor and I are both super passionate about this topic, and my project. I have been able to fulfill my ambitious time goal (six hours) almost every week. We are learning together, which is also working really well. Although I certainly didn’t request it, if I have a question that Señora Galliford can’t answer, she sometimes writes it down and comes back the next week with her findings (as do I) then we compare our answers and learn. Its really cool to have a mentor equally invested in your project as you are, and just as willing to learn from it.

3. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

I do find that our meetings occasionally go a bit off topic. Since we have such similar personalities, our Spanish conversations quickly veer off to something else. Ive been trying to notice when this happens, and steer the conversation in the right direction, but it is becoming challenging. Once we get farther into the project, and our meetings are in Spanish, them it won’t matter what our conversations are about, because I will still be learning correct conjugation etc. Until then, I just have to pay more attention to the direction which my words take me, and how I can reroute back to Spanish.

Here is my Status report for how my actual project is going. These take me about an hour to write, and roughly 45 minutes for my mentor and I to edit, which is why I don’t do the entire post in Spanish. However, this week I’ve included a link to a video, of me reading the status report out, (in Spanish).

Status Report:

This week, I completed my second unit of Rosetta Stone. I am working on reflecting on unit two, to see what I have learnt, and what I missed. I’ve been using a workbook, filling it out, then looking for the answers online to check my understanding. I have been watching a TV show which is half in Spanish, half in English. Whenever a Spanish section comes on, I watch it without subtitles, and try to decipher the meaning. When it finishes, I rewatch the segment with subtitles, to ensure my understanding. I also came across a beginners Spanish textbook the other day, which I have been navigating, and using occasionally. It includes some helpful exercises, which I have been using. Since it is a fairly new textbook, it focuses on topics which most others wouldn’t touch. I have learnt how to refer to different communities which are common today, as well as I read the section on “Things you won’t learn in school”. This spiked my interest, so I was lead to Miss. Holly’s youtube video on the same topic. These are interesting, because I will be using my Spanish, mostly in native areas, so pedantic knowledge isn’t always super helpful.

Statuse Reporte en Español:

Está semana, yo completo mi unido segundo de Rosetta Stone. Yo pensando sobre el unido dos y mi trabaja. Yo uso un libro, miro las repuestas online to check my understanding. Veo la television en inglés y español. No veo con subtitles cuando ellos hablan español, y, después veo con subtitles uno tiempo mas. Yo tengo un libro de español y estoy usando mucho. Tiene bien ejercicios, yo uso. Es un libro nuevo. Yo aprendo que hablar sobre comunidades que son regulares hoy. “Itemes su no habla en escuela” es mi favorito. Veo la chanelle de Señora. Holly en la mismo topic. Son interesante por que yo uso mi español en areas de nativo. Mi libro knowledge no está bien aquí.

In depth post #3


During my last meet-up with my mentor, we made breakfast cookies, literal cookies made from rice cereal and oats, making it a breakfast cookie, made from breakfast, that you can eat for breakfast. During the meeting, I copied down the flour recipe, and can now use it at my own house, both for in-depth, and for recreational baking. My mentor and I managed to get rid of ingredients that we no longer needed, and split the cookies up fairly. Overall, we have completed 4 recipes out of my 7. After consideration of the state of my current homework load, I will do all of the second bakes, or memorization bakes, where I make all of the baked goods again, but without any assistance. This consists of chocolate muffins, cinnamon buns, breakfast cookies, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The next meeting is on the 24th of February where we will make banana chocolate chip mini muffins. One important fulfillment of my in depth contract that I have completed is substituting and editing recipes, which I have definitely finished seeing as all of the recipes, except for the chocolate muffins, were originally not gluten free.

1.What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

During my mentoring sessions, everything goes extremely well, from communication, preparation, clean-up, baking, and tasting. This is possible because of our pre-made bond from piano lessons over the last 5 years. This relationship allows for increased trust, respect, knowledge of how the other works, and where the cookware is stored. If I could change one thing, I would change my knowledge of the rules of baking, but as that takes time, I am happy to learn it along the way with my mentor.

2.What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring  interactions?

  1. Asking one another for anything that we may need from them rather than assuming it will be noticed and completed
  2. Asking ourselves if we can help one another when it looks like they are in need.
  3. Planning ahead of time for future meetings, and informing one another of complications

3.What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?

We have shared any events that would complicate our future meeting for the next few months, and are constantly looking for ways to improve our baking experience by aiding with their tasks, and before you know it, we have switched tasks.

In-depth post #2

It took awhile to recover it, but I managed to re-post my indepth post 2


How did your mentor gain their experience/ expertise?

  • Over the years, my mentor has gained her experience through the years of toil and trouble of being on a gluten free diet. With years of practice, you tend to uncover a few secrets or in this case, recipes of great quality, and my mentor has done such. This collection of recipes, experience in the culinary arts, and ability to make substitutes in non-gluten-free recipes allows for an easy, but highly educational interaction during our meetings.

What were those experiences like for your mentor?

  • When my mentor first went gluten-free, it took a toll on multiple things in her life, taste, texture, cost, and current ingredients were all immediately changed, forcing her to adapt. As the cost rose and the taste got worse, she improvised and went on a year long journey to find what she could use and eat in her life to bring it closer to the level it was once at. After 9 month of trying different bread brands, she finally found one that tasted like something other than a brick, and from that point on, she collected these brands, recipes and flours until she had the amount and variety of supplies today which can fulfill nearly any gluten free recipe I can find.

What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?

  • I have learned how to make a flour mix, use a variety of cookware, the qualities of various ingredients, recipes, and the places where I can get the best GF ingredients.

What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?

  • Throughout our last few meetings, I have learned how to organize and label my food for maximum ease of access to ingredients and tools, activate yeast and allow it to expand to a desired point, substitute gluten ingredients, change the thickness of a batter, and how to remove a yolk from an egg. All these things I have learned in a mere 3 weeks. To think that I would be able to learn that much in such a small amount of time

In-depth week #5

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

My mentor, Señora Galliford is really good at understanding the questions which I ask, and knowing exactly where I want to go with them, which is unique from last year. With my last in-depth, a lot more clarifying questions had to be asked, as Slam poetry is more subjective than Spanish. This year our meetings are super efficient, while still informative and enjoyable.

What learning challenges emerged?

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

As it goes with new relationships, there is always a period of time designated for adjusting to each other, and getting used to seeing the other person on a regular basis. I wouldn’t say that my mentor and I have experienced any “learning challenges” but more just understanding how the other person works, and trying to alter our own perceptions of the world to fit that. I am very planned and organized, but my mentor likes spontaneity and spur of the moment ideas. As a teacher, Señora Galliford wants to teach me the lessons based on every question I ask, but I’m assuming that as this project progresses more, I will take the reign, and probably just ask for resources and occasional questions. Already I am holding myself accountable in this manner, by going through everything I learn at the meetings, by myself. I come to the next meeting with extension questions to the previous meeting, as well as lists of resources which I have found useful in my continued learning.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

  1. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

Since Señora Galliford hasn’t spoken Spanish at a higher level, for a number of years, she is worried that she won’t be able to answer a lot of my questions. Because I haven’t gotten to an advanced level yet, she has understood all of my questions, or just needed a quick refresher. However, I will probably be learning higher level concepts which she isn’t super confident with, by the end of the year. Señora Galliford, however is looking forward to the challenge, as she wants to be fluent again, she just hasn’t taught grade eleven and twelve Spanish courses in a long time. I think that learning alongside my mentor is important, so that it is less of a teacher-student relationship. Combined, we both have a lot of external resources who we can look to if need be.

Status Report:

I have been meeting with my mentor every week now, as it is convenient to meet, and I feel that I am gaining a lot from the meetings. By the end of this weekend, I will have finished unit two on Rosetta Stone, on top of some work on Duolingo, and I also completed my first Spanish research session this week. I wanted to learn more about the effect that certain Latinos have had on modern culture and media. I did some research on actress, Gina Rodriguez, and learnt a TON. During this weeks meeting, my main question was clarifying the difference between the Spanish words tú, tus, su and sus which as you may have guessed have very similar meanings. The spark notes, is that they all translate to “your” in English, but are used in different contexts, depending on how many items a person has.

Statuse Reporte en Español:

Yo miro mi mentor todo la semana ahora, es facíl y yo feel que yo mucho entonces. La fin de semana, mi “Rosetta Stone” units son finito. Yo estoy estudiando “Duolingo” y “estudiar español . com”. Yo finito mi primera español research projet está semana tambien. Yo quiero entonce mas about Latinos effect que tele y computadora de hoy society. Yo did research que la actriz Gina Rodriguez y entones mas. Está semana, mi primera question es “que es la difference entre words de español, tú, tus, su, y sus?” La mismo en ingles. They mean “your” pero are usar en diferente contexts depending on cuantos itemes un persona tiene.

In-depth, here we go!

Guess what? In depth is starting again! As you may recall, last year I studied the art of SLAM poetry, which left me craving more of this project. Well its back, and for a long time I was unsure of what I wanted to study. I have figured it out, and have decided to study Spanish. Over my Christmas break, I visited the beautiful country of Mexico, and acted as my family’s amateur tour guide. I failed. I thought that my Spanish skills were somewhat proficient, but once the pressure of speaking to people with thick accents, at top speeds, kicked in, I was useless. My conjugation was off, I was slow, and I kept having to ask people to write things down, as I can read better than I can speak. Since I have always wanted to study Spanish in university, and travel once I graduate, I figured that the in-depth project would be the perfect learning environment for the culmination of my language skills. Last year I completed my first year of Spanish in school, and am currently taking intro 11 online. This allows me plenty of resources, to make this project as fun, and stimulating as it was last year. I will probably consult with many Spanish speakers on a regular basis, however, I have found one person who I can call my mentor. Last year, Señora Galliford taught me grade nine Spanish, and I consult her occasionally when I have questions about the Spanish I am learning. I talked to her, and she agreed to be my mentor. She will help me with my pronunciation, speed while speaking Spanish, and she has also agreed to help me write my biweekly blogposts, IN SPANISH! I will have an English translation, (don’t worry non-spanish speakers), but this will help me see the growth that has occurred in my language skills, throughout the course of this project. I also obtained several contacts during my trip, who agreed to help me with the project, by allowing me to phone them occasionally, to practice speaking to a native Spanish speaker. Since I know the stress that these phone calls will provide me, I plan on doing three throughout my project. Speaking will be the focus of this project, as writing is usually easier, but not very useful while travelling. Obviously not much has happened in the means of process so far, as I am just beginning my project. Over the reading break I plan on completing one research session, and ideally one of the units on Rosetta Stone, but that is likely pushing it a bit too far. As for my plans for the project on he whole: I hope to complete two Duolingo sessions every week, since there are seventy in total. That will leave me a few weeks before the final project, to prepare my presentation in the time usually designated to Duolingo. I will also do two grammar lessons every week on, as they have a similar number of lessons as Duolingo. Altogether, these two forums will amount to approximately an hour a week. However, I would also like to do one unit on Rosetta Stone every two weeks. Each unit requires ten hours or more, so I will have my hands full. I don’t think I will mind putting in six hours a week or more, as this is a project of passion, and I am excited to get started. So, let’s begin the road of conjugation and present participles, and hope that one day fluency is attainable!

Check back in two weeks for an update on how my reading break plans worked out, or didn’t… Wish me luck!

Leadership: 360 degree leader

After watching a week long series regarding how one can lead, nurture and support other leaders from anywhere in the chain of command, but in this post, I will only be discussing one of the points that was brought up: Do more than manage, lead. This specific idea entails that people should not just send others to do things, but instead nurture, protect and lead them in a personalized fashion to best suit their needs, setting them up for success.

To quote John,

Image result for people

“People more than projects

Movement more than maintenance

Art more than science

Intuition more than formula

Vision more than procedure

Risk more than caution

Action more than reaction

Relationships more than rules

Who you are more than what you do”

Overall, they may seem like a selfless and cliche points, however, they hold more meaning in the way that they all require you, as the leader, to step outside you comfort zone and help the group more than yourself. I view these as guidelines, arguably one of the most important and tangible things John had given us during the duration of his seminars.

Beyond that, the specific section continues into a ‘beyond management’ idea. The idea described states that people should think long-term when leading and push boundaries.

Finally, the description given to the 360 degree leaders:

People who ask questions, have answers, take responsibility and influence others to follow.

That is a 360 Degree Leader

Reflection for John Maxwell’s Leadership Lessons


You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.

John Knox

Many people believe in their abilities to work efficiently and lead, knowing that it would benefit the team and its goals, but they do not often get others to follow. The simple reason is that people don’t have to listen! Leadership is all about influence. As we are trying to take on the responsibilities of a leader and trying to gain supporters, we need to keep in mind that we need to have either position or influence to lead. Also, since we can hardly be bestowed a superior status (if we have any in TALONS) without first proving our abilities to manage, we should change our mindset of “I want a position that will make people follow me” to “I want to become a person whom others would want to follow”. The only solution to this challenge is to become someone others would trust to lead.

*In the second semester, we have one of the most significant projects that TALONS’ students will undertake: the adventure trips. I will also have my cultural event planning and maybe in-depth. It will undoubtedly be beneficial to keep in mind the ways that Maxwell suggested to overcome the Influence Challenge:

  • Care. Get to know others.

This means that I should be familiar with all of my team members, and they should be with me. I want to help them get to know what they are doing and do it better with tips from someone who has a bit more experience.

  • Build trust and be dependable.

I will need to do what I promised to do, whether it is bringing a brochure to the meeting or actually attending the meeting. To develop and exhibit the character I want, I can look at the attributes that leaders I admire possess, and try to change myself starting from now on.

  • Do my job well. 

Mainly, I need to hand in my share of work early enough so others would have time to critique it. I need to make sure that I put in all my efforts into my product, which will not just benefit myself, but the overall goal of the whole team.

  • Be consistently approachable.

I always need to be willing to talk to others, whether I am in a gloomy mood or not. It is like a hat that I need to put on, gloominess is not something that would benefit the team, and I shouldn’t let that interfere.

  • Be wholeheartedly committed to the goal myself.

Poor leaders demand respect. Competent leaders command respect.

John C. Maxwell

*for clarity purposes, I separated the sections (I personally hate long paragraphs because I can’t understand them). It is still under the word limit.

360 Degree Leader

I learned a lot from John Maxwell’s “How to Be a 360 Degree Leader”, but one specific thing that I am going to focus on improving for next semester is to realize that the Position Myth is not true. The position myth is “I can’t lead if I am not at the top.” I found myself following this myth on the adventure trip and practice hikes last year. When I wasn’t in a position of either leading or sweeping the group, I would fall out of my leadership position and assume that others would take care of what needed to be done. However, in that situation I should have still been leading from the middle of the pack, and doing whatever I could to help in any way possible. I should have been keeping track of where we were on a map, and I should have been attentive to anything I could do to lighten the leader’s loads. In the upcoming semester, I will really try to focus on this goal, and throughout the practice bikes and biking adventure trip this year, I will try to lead from the middle of the pack like John Maxwell suggests. I can lead from the middle of the pack by doing something as simple as helping one of my peers get something out of their bag if they can’t reach it, or warning a peer to be careful that they don’t fall on a slippery patch of ground. I will try to set a good example at all times of the trip, while I am in a position of leading or sweeping, as well as when I am anywhere in the middle of the pack. I believe that by focusing on this goal, I can improve my leadership skills.

The 360° Leader – Reflection

John Maxwell’s The 360° Leader was a really interesting workshop that I felt shed light on a type of leadership not often taught; leading from the middle of the pack. The concept is something I definitely intend to use in my everyday life, at school, with my friends and on my teams. One idea that I plan on using in my future leadership projects and efforts is “The Law of Empowerment” that states “Only Secure Leaders Give Power Away” (6).  I feel that too often my mindset is that the more I take on and do, the better leader I am, when in fact real leaders (like we learned last year) distribute jobs equally to people around them. I plan to hone my distribution skills further in our Garage Sale Leadership project. Since I have experienced the process of creating such an event, I could take on the entire work load myself to make sure it is done right. But, at the end of the day, if the other members don’t have responsibility and put in effort, then they will never learn from those the possible success (and maybe failures) and thus improve their own organizational, planning, leadership and other skills. By splitting up the work evenly, I hope each person will learn and then be confident when it’s their turn to organize an event next year. I think that the importance of distribution was better articulated in this presentation than in last year’s because of his use of supporting myths, such as “The Inexperience Myth” (5) to better help illustrate his thinking. Through the workshop, I saw how being at the top doesn’t come with complete control, so one should practice giving up control in the middle of the pack by sharing the load. This is what I plan to do with my Leadership project and in other aspects of my life..