2017 MTF Mentors                                                                                    Front Row: Pete Mashinski, Laurie Schaefer, Karen Levine                                   Back Row: Bob Smith, Lisa Bauman, Graeme Stacey

The Museum is excited to announce that we’ve incorporated a new mentorship component to our MTF Summer Institute program that aims to connect veteran MTFs with our newest graduating cohort of MTFs each summer.     

The goals for the MTF Mentorship program are to:

  • Encourage ongoing growth and engagement of new Museum Teacher Fellows
  • Enhance communication within the MTF community; fostering relationships between new and veteran MTFs
  • Leverage experience and expertise to expand quality Holocaust education

This past summer we invited our first group of MTF Mentors to attend a portion of the Summer Institute programming for the returning MTFs who were in DC to report on their Outreach Projects. Each mentor was assigned a group of 3-4 mentees with whom they met both individually and as a group on several occasions during the summer program. They will continue to communicate throughout the upcoming school year and beyond to answer questions, provide guidance, and assist in the planning process and facilitation of any projects that their mentees might be interested in hosting in their local communities.

Our inaugural MTF Mentors this past summer included:

  • Lisa Bauman (MTF 1998) – Overland Park, KS
  • Karen Levine (MTF 2006) – Succasunna, NJ
  • Pete Mashinski (MTF 2013) – Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Laurie Schaefer (MTF 2006) – Tobaccoville, NC
  • Bob Smith (MTF 2001) – South Deerfield, MA
  • Graeme Stacey (MTF 2015) – Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

MTF Mentors and USHMM Staff share a debriefing dinner

We asked our MTF Mentors to explain why they were excited to be a Mentor, what advice they had for the new MTFs, and in thinking back to their own MTF program experience, what they wished they had known at the time. We are sharing their responses below and look forward to working with other veteran MTFs in this role in the future!

Lisa Bauman shared, “I am so excited to be a MTF mentor because the MTF experience truly changed my professional life and gave direction to my passion for teaching about the Holocaust. I am eager to meet the new MTFs and learn from them and their experiences with teaching the Holocaust. The MTF program is truly special. Because of it, I made lifetime friends who all care deeply for each other and their students. These educators inspire me to be a better teacher. Back in 1998, when I was a new MTF, I wish I had realized how important every interaction with people and presenters at the museum would be. I was completely overwhelmed, and wish I had asked more questions and taken better notes.

Karen Levine went on to say that, “Staying connected with the USHMM past your MTF year will change you professionally and personally. It’s not just connections but friendships around the country that you will make through the USHMM. The opportunities are there for you to be a leader in Holocaust education. I am so excited to be a mentor so I can work with new MTFs. I love being part of the process.

Pete Mashinski offered this advice to the new MTFs, “I would strongly encourage MTFs to maintain a strong relationship with the museum and its staff. They are here to help us and make our jobs easier as educators by providing resources and avenues that will only improve our teaching habits. I am honored and humbled to serve as a mentor. I look forward to catching up with friends and being surrounded by a group of professionals who share my passion for Holocaust Education.

Laurie Schaefer shared that “The most important thing I want all new MTFs to know is that being involved with the USHMM will positively impact not only your teaching, but also you personally. Everything that I have learned as an MTF can also be applied to other subjects and units that I teach, as the pedagogical approach we take is that beneficial for students and teachers. This is just the beginning of the journey for you, not the end, as the Museum actually means it when they want you to be involved in leading Holocaust education. Being an MTF mentor is very exciting for me, as it means that I can be there to support you and watch you grow into the leader we know you can be! I look forward to the journey!”

Bob Smith confided that “There is no professional experience as valuable to me as my involvement with the MTF program. From the beginning, I have learned much, shared with like-minded new friends, built relationships that now approach twenty years in length. I wish that when I began I could have known how great an impact all of this would have on my classroom.  I would have savored each minute more, I think. I also wish I had known how hard I would have to work to keep my garden in good shape before and after my many adventures with the Museum! But every second has been a joy. You will find this an incredible adventure of the mind and heart.

Graeme Stacey encouraged the MTFs to stay connected. Connect with your peers, the USHMM staff, or the presenters, authors, and professors that inspire and engage you. The opportunities that arise are immeasurable; both in friendships, and personal and professional growth. So many doors have been opened, and I have gained much through my experiences (for both me and my students) because of the ongoing connections, liaisons, and friendships I have established in the pursuit of Holocaust and Genocide studies. I must give credit and thanks, for where I am today, to the friends and mentors I met in 2015 and 2016 at the USHMM.

What excites me the most about being a mentor is that I am able to once again immerse myself in this special area of study with like-minded teachers, and be led by educational experts in the Levine Institute who do not educate “top down”; the USHMM respects teachers on an equal playing field and recognizes our very diverse classrooms.

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