A quick follow up to my prior post. Among other conversation had over drinks following our “graduation” from Improv 101, was the general consensus on the class itself. Overall, I really enjoyed my teacher, Monika Smith, who in addition to being quick, incisive, intelligent, and hilarious was also just the right kind of mentor for folks getting started in [Anything] 101.

What I mean by that is she gave us all very specific advice and guidance, not just in terms of what we needed to hear but also very quickly figured out how we needed to hear it to gain the most from it. Aside from the art stuff, I decided to add some more charitable activity to my repertoire and I’ll be volunteering as a mentor with Imagine LA starting next month as well.

In my phone interview with them, I was asked what I think a mentor is. My answer was that I think a teacher does a lot of telling, whereas a mentor asks a lot of questions. Teachers have a very specific/rigid thing they’re trying to instill in their students, or a very specific thing they’re trying to turn their students into. A mentor, on the other hand, is trying to help their protege/mentee find the thing they want to be, and to push them toward that thing. I believe that’s best done by asking questions, but listening, and encouraging. My interviewer liked that answer quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to starting as a mentor next month.

Monika was, for what 101 needed to be, a great mentor and teacher alike. She doesn’t teach a 200 class, but she does teach a 300, so I’ll hopefully find my way back into a class with her if I survive this next level. In the meantime, I’ve got some mentorship of my own to look forward to, besides all the other fun stuff I keep on my plate. You know the line folks:

Whatever your grind is, be your grind.

Author: Y. Balloo

Amateur novelist / Work in progress.

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