For our third installment of the Mentor Spotlight, The Temple Bell presents Elsa—Lead Minister of the Scorpio Ministry. Her student Helen O’Hara, tells us that she is “a sensitive and empathic individual who can ‘read between the homework lines’… she also is a wonderful combination of cheerleader, devil’s advocate and Mother Superior.” Ms. O’Hara tells us that “not only has she responded to my routine homework in a timely thoughtful manner, but has addressed all my additional questions and issues in great depth and detail.” What she likes most about Elsa “is her ability to be completely non-judgmental—no question or issue is ever too small or insignificant to be addressed, and her insights are always uncannily accurate.”
Let us catch a glimpse of Elsa’s mentoring style as she fills us in for our Spotlight!
How long have you been a mentor?
Since September, 2012
How do you approach mentoring? Your philosophy?
My goal is to be present and witness the student’s experience with the material—allowing the student to fully engage with it and to have their unique experience. I am encouraging and challenging–depending on what is needed. Also, since I am a therapist, I provide support when it is necessary since some of the curriculum can be stirring emotionally and psychologically. It is important to help the student have the deepest and best educational and spiritual experience possible for them.
How do you know if you’ve been a successful mentor?
Success as a mentor appears when your mentee moves forward in the curriculum ; when he/she shows thoughtful expansion of his/her understanding of the material—a deeper mastery of his/her magickal and ritual skills when it is for his/her highest good. While it has not been my experience, I also imagine it can be positive and important to support a student who needs to either step out to take a break or even leave the program if that is what is best for him/her. Success is not absolutely defined as finishing–Witchcraft V and becoming an ordained minister for example. Success is different for every student. Our role is to support the student to their highest and best outcome.
What advice would you give a new mentor?
Balance your messages to your student/mentee with positive feedback and challenges. If you find you have a student that outshines even yourself, how lucky for you. But usually, there is something that needs more attention or development so give that feedback along with positive feedback. Also, go ahead and tell them if you learn something or your awareness is expanded by something they said. It is very important to acknowledge that we all are constantly learning and that the learning can come from our students as well as our teachers. We can learn something from every interaction.