What? Me Mentor? by Becky Villareal


                When I became a teacher over twenty years ago, I discovered there was a monster in the world called “professional jealousy” that can tear people apart and ruin promising careers.  I would have left teaching had it not been for some master teachers who took me under their wings to help me through that very difficult first year as a novice.  They showed me what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and even helped me clean out my room after a flood. They modeled not only teaching skills but how to “treat others as you would want to be treated;” a mantra I was raised on as the daughter of missionaries.  As I continued teaching, I was able to share these pearls of wisdom with other new teachers who passed my way. 

I retired from teaching and delved into the world of writing full time after toying with it for over fifty years.  Once again a newbie, I felt at a loss while traversing the white water of the publishing industry. I was on my own and began to search the internet for others who had walked these same bumpy paths.  The writer’s articles were imperative and helpful, but I longed for that one-on-one help I received as a new teacher.

As it turned out, when I was forced to set up my writer’s platform, I began to find other writers who had similar experiences and feelings about this line of work.  It is a solitary profession, but there are people out there who are willing to share their expertise.  As I developed into a published writer, I was able to help others find their way as well. When I read a question on Linkedin from someone wanting information, I provided my experiences with the matter.  If there were someone who requested a critique of their work, I’d offer to help including giving them ideas of how to market their children’s books in the area of education.

                What I have found is that there is a joy in helping others reach their goals and dreams.  When I began doing this through critiques, reviews, and positive quotes, I found I was growing as a writer and as an individual.  It takes so little time to help another, and when we do, we are both richer for it.

                A fellow writer once told me, “You have the bones of a good story here.”  Just that simple statement gave me so much hope to finish my book and continue this chapter of my life that I had begun. 



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