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Goals of TIBMA

Helping the novice to understand the principles of applying the Bengal standard to the actual cat(s).

Learn to recognize the signs of collecting/hoarding and how to identify and implement early interventions.

Peer and customer reviews and assesments of breeding programs and cattery managment.

Provide written and personal guidance and support for new and experienced breeders.


Educate new exhibitors to the in's and outs of showing and breeding cats.

Establish and accomplish goals for a successful breeding and show cattery.

Develop a program that provides education, guidance, assistance and nurturing to new and old breeders and exhibitors.

Encourage and educate new and old breeders the importance of rescue resources.

Why Be a Mentor

 

What is a Mentor?

The broad definition is this: an experienced person who goes out of his/her way to help a mentee set important life goals and develop the skills to reach them. An informal mentor provides coaching, listening, advice, sounding board reactions, or other help in an unstructured, casual manner. A formal or enhanced informal mentor agrees to an ongoing, planned partnership that focuses on helping the mentee reach specific goals over a designated period.

Mentoring is a relationship built on trust, and one of its primary goals is to make new breeders or exhibitors more confident in their abilities and talents. Traditionally mentoring involves a person with more experience and connections helping a newcomer to the field.

For our purposes it is also important to establish what mentoring is NOT. It is not teacher training. It is not answering desperate questions of ill-prepared new breeders. It is not giving away all of your valuable, hard-earned showing secrets (although it is arguable that good ideas ought to be shared and not hoarded). It is not spending tons of free time making someone else’s life easier and shortchanging yourself on your own. Mentoring is not for everyone.

Rather than focusing on a particular skill, task or goal, mentoring is a long-term, ongoing process. It is a more personal relationship than coaching or training, based in shared experience. As the newcomer grows, the mentoring relationship evolves. The mentor often passes on not only tangible knowledge, but also philosophy, advice and advantages gleaned from years in the breeding/exhibiting.

The mentor sometimes provides introductions to people or organizations to which a newcomer would not normally have access. Mentors generally provide guidance, not for personal gain, but out of a desire to help another individual realize his full potential.

While this last point is certainly important, I have discovered an interesting ‘secret’ about mentoring. It makes me better.

Whats in it for me?

I’m all for altruism, in theory, but I am human. As a result, if I am going to sustain an activity over a long period of time, there usually needs to be a benefit for me. What I’ve discovered is that mentoring unwittingly provides the opportunity for reflective practice. Margot Pearson of the Australian National University Centre for Educational Development and Academic Methods says that reflective practice in the teaching field “refers to the process of the educator studying his or her own teaching methods and determining what works best for the students. Reflective practice can help an individual to develop personally.”

When I discuss with a mentee the choices I have made, or would make, in a situation similar to theirs, I get the opportunity to reflect not only on what worked, but also on why it worked. I am handed the chance to examine what I do in a way I never do on my own. Pearson goes on to say “Critical to such learning from experience through reflection is dialogue with others: experts, experienced and inexperienced colleagues, students, and academics in different disciplines. It is in conversation with others that ideas are challenged, new approaches and perspectives are encountered, and notions of what is possible and what is ‘good practice’ are developed and shared.”

This is part of why we show up to to cat shows and on email lists. We want to talk about it, we know deep down that if we stay in breeding we need to connect or risk becoming the bad example floundering in the dark.

Mentoring is also good for my teaching ego. I get to brag about my successes and laugh at my disasters, and I am reminded, by the disconnect between how wonderful a mentee thinks I am and reality, not to take myself TOO seriously. Mentoring helps me maintain balance.

Mentoring is good for the Soul.

I love sharing and helping others with what I know, and mentoring is a different way of sharing. I get a similar satisfaction from watching one of my children “get it” and hearing a mentee say, “I tried what we talked about with Fluffy and he is so much better now!” Seeing someone go from stressed-out to confident with my help is very rewarding for me. I’ve also helped more than one person realize that breeding was not for them, and that’s rewarding in a different kind of way as well

I have been fortunate. More than once in my life (in several different careers) I have had wonderful mentors. Without those people I could never have accomplished the things I have done. The help and advice I received, whether formally organized or not, was invaluable. If not for the fellow breeders help i received early on, I could have very easily been another kitten mill / BYB. I want to be there for others now in the same way those people were there for me.

References:Margot Pearson, Australian National University, Centre for Educational Development and Academic Methods

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Mark Pennington -Mystre Bengals - Founder