While in the office of a pastor friend of mine I saw a book by Dr. John Goetsch. Dr. Goetsch and I had a relationship about 15 years ago through our previous ministry when we worked at a camp. I asked my pastor friend if he had read the book because I was curious as to whether or not Dr. Goetsch was a good author. My friend had not read the book on the desk, but handed me a book from his bookshelf that was co-written by the same author and said it was good.
The book is titled Mentoring and Modeling: Developing the Next Generation by Dr. Mark Rasmussen and Dr. John Goetsch. I am not sure exactly how I would define mentoring, so I had no prejudice as to what the book should contain.
Not until I got 2/3 rds. of the way through the book did I start to understand what the authors meant by that word. Their definition could easily be called “a good teacher.”
I thought the book was well written. It was very practical towards the end of the book. They moved from theoretical teaching to practical application. It was in the practical application section of the book that it became clear as to what was meant by being a mentor. They gave great tips on how a teacher could change their attitude and actions in the classroom to help their students move forward.
There were a couple of things I did not like about the book, both of which could probably be helped by having a professional editor look over the material. There seemed to be an inconsistency in the layout of the book. Sometimes the authors had some long quotes that apparently were supposed to be block quotes in the book. They ended up just being paragraphs that looked like the authors’ own words. It was hard to know where the quote ended and the writers were speaking again.
The book lacked the chapter titles at the top of the pages. While this is certainly not necessary, it is helpful in a book like this. The chapters dealt with specific principles. Looking up at the top of the page to get a reminder of which principle you are studying each time you picked up the book would have been helpful.
I was impressed with the authors’ general style. As I said, I knew Dr. Goetsch several years ago, but had never read anything by him. He (along with Dr. Rasmussen) is a great writer.
The book itself had some good reminders for teachers on how to engage their students and pull them into the lesson. It also talked about how teachers should look for teaching moments. With practise these moments can be found all around you.
This was definitely a book for teachers. I read the book because it was offered to me, but if I had picked it up looking for tips on being a good mentor, I am not sure I would have found what I was looking for. While I agree that teachers should be mentors, this book seemed to be specifically for teachers in a classroom. I don’t have a clear definition in my head as to what I think a mentor should be, but certainly a mentor is not limited to 4 walls and a chalkboard.
I have started to see the difference between books that go through a large publishing company and one that is put together by a smaller outfit. If this had been run through a larger organization it probably would have something about teachers in the title and the formatting would have been more consistent. In the notes I wrote about the book as I read it, I jotted this down: Well written, poorly presented. I don’t think I can improve on that simple statement for this book.
Dr. Goetsch is a great preacher and writer. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future. I just hope that the production quality improves.
Mentoring and Modeling, Dr. Mark Rasmussen and Dr. John Goetsch, Revival Books, 2000, 192 pages.