An 'in-school' Mentoring Program for Students
Recently the South Australian Catholic Behaviour Education Team approached Mark to design and coordinate an
for their school staff. The program provides opportunities for interested staff members to develop skills so they are better equipped to mentor students who are experiencing learning, social or behavioural problems. These students, aged from 6 to 18 years of age, often 'do it tough' and benefit from the on-going friendship and encouragement from a caring adult working within the school system. Mark describes the program as truly inspirational and will tell you what a privilege it is to work alongside such passionate teachers and educational support officers. Already, in a short space of time, a number of highly skilled school personnel are taking 'extra' care of some of the most vulnerable students in schools. The hope is that gradually, more and more at risk students will be supported by the amazing ripple effect that is beginning to radiate from this uplifting program.
Most staff and students in the Catholic system are eligible to access this program. To find out how contact your school principal, your child's teacher, the Behaviour Education Team at the South Australian Catholic Education Office or Mark.
A good beginning is to peruse Mark's workshop notes below. They should give you a thorough insight into this highly innovative program.
Background: Why consider a mentoring program?
The introduction of formal mentoring programs in the workplace is a comparatively new idea. Yet, the idea of a more experienced person offering support, guidance and help to a younger person or less experienced group has a long history. The traditional Australian example of an informal mentoring process is the effective elder system of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples. More recently, formal mentoring programs have begun to develop among employees in middle and senior management positions in both the commercial world and the public sector. The reasons why mentoring has been embraced to such a degree are obvious. It's a simple, cost-effective learning strategy that achieves predetermined outcomes for employees. It can benefit disadvantaged groups who historically have not had fair access to work place opportunities. In fact, in recent years formal mentoring programs have been encouraged to improve the representation of women in key positions. Mentoring is now recognised as a powerfully efficient method for the transference of professional, technical and management skills. Experience shows us that it benefits all concerned -the morale and culture of the organisation itself, the younger, less experienced or disadvantaged employee, the mentors themselves and other employees - by increasing skills, self-confidence, flexibility, care and knowledge.
Within our own lives, each of us know someone who has spoken of a significant person (a mentor), whose guidance and encouragement made a difference to them. Their mentor may have been a teacher, an ESO, school counsellor or principal, and in other circumstances, mentoring may have taken place outside school through a friend or relation. Despite many of these mentoring relationships being random and informal in nature, what appears universal is that the mentee felt their mentor believed in them, helped them to develop goals, maintain their motivation and helped them to discover more about themselves. They believe that the clear, realistic goals their mentors held for them reinforced their belief in themselves. As a consequence, their world became more predicable which allowed them to progressively perform more confidently. By depending on their mentor, accepting structures to develop routine and strategies to build relationship and academic skills, many children have been provided with the impetus to find greater success.
In 2003 the South Australian state government committed $6 million for four years to fund a Student Mentoring Program in 45 selected DECS schools for students aged from 12 to 18 years. Currently, there are about 80 teacher mentors supporting more than 700 secondary students. Most schools are allocated funding to release 2 teacher mentors. A teacher mentor's release time is the equivalent of one day per week. The Education Minister described the program as a way to assist students experiencing trouble with subjects, difficulties with organisation and issues of a personal nature. The teacher-mentors work with students to help build their confidence, set goals, strengthen organisation and develop learning plans to improve engagement to learning. It is hoped that this intervention will see an increase in school retention rates in the upper levels of secondary school. As the Minister of Education, Jane Lomax-Smith, stated in a press release, "Early school leaving can lead to a lifetime of unemployment, poverty and unhappiness." (June 2005) Most recently, the DECS mentoring model has expanded into 'the community mentoring program' whereby members of the community are being invited to become mentors to students.
Description of our program
This program is for the most part a one-to-one (teacher/ ESO to student) encouragement program for boys and girls from lower primary to upper secondary school. The student (the mentee) and teacher/ ESO (the mentor) meet at school in regular face-to-face meetings to address school and personal issues the student may be experiencing. Initially mentors plan to mentor their student for a year, although in circumstances where the relationship has resulted in obvious benefits consideration to extending the association may be practical. The program is based on a respectful, confidential and trusting connection developing between the mentor and mentee.
In a few schools there will be a shortage of teachers/ ESOs as mentors. So, an alternative approach may see a mentor work with two or three students, meeting with them individually or, where appropriate, as a group. Working within a small group allows the mentees to benefit from one another's ideas and experience, as well as from those of the mentor. In this situation the mentor acts as a catalyst for sharing personal insights and to create a forum for healthy discussion and learning.
The program is designed as a form of intervention for students who have been identified as facing classic learning, attentional or behavioural problems. These students are often described as 'at risk': they find it hard to engage with schoolwork/ homework, or with their peers, they forget, procrastinate, think they can't find success, lose interest, are inconsistent, worry, display reactive behaviours or may be experiencing difficulties at home. It may be that some fall into a category where their persistent difficulties have attracted formal identification. These may include a range of diagnoses, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Specific Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Anxiety Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Language Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and so on. This group of children is a prime focus of this program.
It is not an expectation of the program that mentors will replace the necessary professional input of psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists and so on. Skilled health professionals will continue to be required in some instances. In these circumstances the role of the mentor is to add stability to the situation by encouraging the health professional link, coordinating professional input, sharing relevant information appropriately with others involved with the student, and to support the input of the health professionals.
Description of a mentor & mentoring
Mentoring can vary from unplanned intervention to a comprehensively designed long-term relationship, but the building of a quality relationship between the mentee and the mentor is a universal ingredient.
A mentor is often described as a guide. Someone who can lead by example and in so doing becomes a role model to their mentee. Ideally, they should be seen by their student as an able, experienced person truly worth engaging with. Mentors can help a young person to find ways to deal with immediate difficulties, to set goals, to achieve a vision or find improved emotional stability. A mentor often helps to stimulate the structure and motivation their mentee requires to make changes to improve their happiness or success. In all mentoring situations it is usual to see the mentee's needs and the mentor's input vary according to the development of their relationship and the sort of school/life circumstances they may be facing.
"Mentors are helpers. Their styles may range from that of a persistent encourager who helps us build self-confidence, to that of a stern taskmaster who teaches us to appreciate excellence in performance. Whatever their style, they care about us and what we are trying to do." (Shea)
"Mentoring can be defined as: a significant, long-term, beneficial effect on the life or style of another person, generally as a result of personal one-on-one contact. A mentor is one who offers knowledge, insight, perspective, or wisdom that is especially useful to the other person." (Shea)
Mentoring is "a deliberate pairing of a more skilled or experienced person with a lesser skilled or experienced one, with the agreed-upon goal of having the lesser skilled person grow and develop specific competencies" (Murray)
"Coaching is a subset of mentoring." (Johnson)
An effective mentor in this program would:
- Develop a quality relationship with their mentee. While a friendship may evolve, it is not the primary goal.
- Meet their student at school on a regular basis.
- Remain composed and optimistic even in the face of disappointment, frustration or crisis. In some instances, the goal may be as basic as easing the emotional turmoil a student is experiencing.
- Engage in enjoyable activities with their mentee.
- Be an effective communicator. Devise ways for plenty of discussion to take place. Know how to be an active listener and reflect back the thoughts and ideas suggested by the student. In short, provide quality guidance, not all the answers.
- Explore the difficulties or challenges the mentee may want to overcome.
- Set clear short-term and/or long-term objectives with their mentee.
- Be an advocate for their student. As an advocate, mentors will need to discuss issues with affiliated staff and the student's parents.
- Resist rescuing students from their own mistakes or thoughtlessness. Effective mentors learn to avoid rushing in and compromising the on-going assistance of colleagues following an incident their mentee has been involved in.
- Promote discussion with their student so they can reflect, review and problem solve rather than being involved in disciplining their mentee. When a problem arises that requires a disciplinary response from school be certain that the staff member who usually fulfils this function carries out this task.
- Develop ways with the student to measure progress towards determined goals.
- Keep key staff members and the mentee's parents regularly updated within a framework of positivity.
- Celebrate the successes
Who can volunteer?
Any teacher, ESO or staff member in the South Australian Catholic system can.
A typical volunteer is someone who wants to make a difference for a student. In essence, there are no special skills required, simply a willingness to invest some time and emotion with a student and their family. However, it is usually suggested that the mentor be someone other than the student's class teacher. In this way potentially conflicting roles are easier to avoid. And, having a mentor outside the classroom allows an expansion of supporting networks for the student.
Am I the right sort of person to do this?
A prospective mentor does need to think carefully about their motivation. Does your motivation match the commitment you'll need to make to a student? A good place to start is to contemplate answers to these reflective questions.
- Why do you want to do this?
- Are you prepared to share your knowledge and experience openly with a student?
- Is it the time right for you to make this special one year commitment?
- Do you have the time, the skills, the willingness and the freedom to devote yourself to another student?
- In offering stability to a student, and their family, you need to be emotionally settled at this point in your life. Are you?
- Is your style of communication effective? Does it demonstrate good humour, optimism and affirm life's potential?
- Are you able to maintain the integrity of the relationship while developing, setting and maintaining clear boundaries for yourself and your student?
- Are you reliable, organised, confidential and trustworthy? Is this what others say about you?
- Can you show patience in the face of what will sometimes look like pure failure?
- When the going gets tough, and it will, will you able to approach others, seek advice and refine your method?
- Can you be empathetic and non-judgemental to a student and family who might have very different values to your own?
- Do you have a past record of thinking independently and making sound judgments?
- Do you have a well developed professional awareness about your professional responsibilities?
Mentoring takes resilience and persistence. While it isn't rocket science, it does take large chunks of common sense and healthy intuition. A good place to start is to accept that although mentoring looks deceptively simple, it's not. Without this understanding an incredible concept with wonderful potentials can be killed off very quickly.
What is the time commitment expected from a Mentor?
The amount of time a teacher/ ESO and their mentee spend together is at their discretion. Most mentors find that meeting with their student(s) for one 30 minute session per week works fairly well. However, the amount of time spent together will be contingent on what's happening in the student's life. It is often useful to have more contacts earlier in the program when a relationship is beginning and goals are being developed.
Will I receive on-going support and training?
Yes, you will.
Immediate support is available through Mark, your immediate leadership team at school or your own Behaviour Education Consultant. Each of us would welcome the chance to discuss your progress, concerns and successes. Regular phone or email contacts are seen as an expectation of the program. Please, do not hesitate to make contact:
The importance of training can't be overstated. This is why the program also includes an ongoing professional development program for mentors. A 'cluster meeting' each term, over three terms, will provide opportunities for mentors to develop networks of support. 'Cluster meetings' will also explore:
- induction of new mentors
- the program's purpose
- how the program works
- qualities desired from a teacher-mentor
- the mentor's role
- effective mentoring models
- a range of mentoring activities
- available mentoring resources to support mentors
- developing classroom observation skills
- the establishment of collaborative relationships
- ways to build supportive school cultures using the mentoring concept
- updating mentors with new information
- interventions concerning the fostering of emotional resilience, curriculum, planning for transitions, engagement of boys and achievement
- the refinement of reflective practise
- evaluation and reporting
Most importantly, these meetings provide the opportunity for mentors to share what they are doing, share concerns and discuss successes. Perhaps, in the longer term, as the program grows, it is envisaged that an annual conference may also be offered. Annual conferences will permit teachers to share their progress and successes, and provide a vehicle to introduce guest presenters to share strategies around mentoring in the framework of Catholic Education initiatives.
How is a match made between a mentor and a student?
There's always the challenge of supply and demand when matching willing adults with students. Namely, there are always more students who would benefit from mentoring than the number of willing, suitable adults available. And to compound the shortage of fine mentors, the individuals who look as though they would make great mentors are the people who are often doing everything else as well! They are on curriculum committees, they're responsible for various management teams and are very active professionally.
Sometimes, a teacher/ ESO and a student will independently form a mentoring relationship. It's virtually spontaneous! Alternatively, once colleagues know that a teacher/ ESO is available to mentor they will begin to make advances about students who may benefit from this association.
All sorts of advice can be found on what enables mentoring relationships to work best. Advice ranges from:
- taking on a student at an age you feel best equipped to work alongside
- mentoring a student who shares similar interests
- building on to a pre-existing relationship
- doing your homework and unearthing the student's background
- having some type of link to the student's family
All advice is useful, but best of all is to think through the possibilities the relationship could offer and listen to your intuition. Also keep in mind that it is near impossible to establish a perfect match between a student and mentor, so be patient and give the relationship a chance to grow.
What if I find I can't make the relationship with my student work?
Occasionally, this will happen. If for one reason or another, the mentoring relationship irretrievably breaks down bring it to a quick, emotionally safe, close. Paramount in concluding the relationship is to make sure that 'no-blame' is apportioned on to anyone. It is wise to include the student's parents in this process so that they truly understand why the relationship has run its course. The student may benefit from knowing that a new mentor wants to work with them once they feel ready to take up the offer.
One way to help reduce the angst should a mentoring relationship break down is to develop a mentoring agreement right from the start. Using this idea, the mentor and the student draw up an agreement to clarify their roles and expectations. The agreement, while not formally binding, helps to determine the design of the relationship. The agreement usually contains a 'no-blame' closure in the event the relationship doesn't work out.
Sample of an 'in-school' MENTORING AGREEMENT
We __________________________ & __________________________ (Insert names of mentor and mentee) are willingly entering into an 'in-school' mentoring partnership.
We plan that this relationship will be a rewarding experience for both of us.
We want our time together to be enjoyable and worthwhile. The goal is to make improvements in the student's life.
The focus of our mentoring partnership will include:
Commencement date: ____________
Period the mentoring program is intended to run: ____________
Date the program is likely to finish: ____________
Frequency of meetings: ____________
Where meetings will take place: ____________
Length of each meeting: ____________
Mentoring activities decided on: ____________
Our main goal(s): ____________
We both agree to a 'no-blame' clause (and have talked about what it means) in the event that our relationship doesn't work out & ends early.
|Mentee' signature ____________
||Mentor's signature ____________
Sample of an 'in-school' MENTORING CONSENT FORM
(Your school's name) is implementing an 'in-school' Mentoring Program. A teacher/ Educational Support Officer from the school will be matched with your child and their aim is to foster a relationship which will help your child in both classroom and school yard activities.
What is it?
This program aims to encourage young people to develop skills and confidence and to find new pathways to learning and work. With help of a mentor the young person will develop self-esteem, trust and communication skills enabling them to gain direction for their future.
What is involved?
Mentors will work on a one to one basis with your child assisting them to make better informed decisions. They will meet on a weekly basis for between 30-45 minutes at school at a mutually convenient time over the next 12 months.
School Principal's signature ________________________________
Mentor's signature ___________________________________
Please fill in the Permission slip below.
I give permission for _______(Student's name)____________________________________ to be involved in the Mentoring Program.
I understand that this will take him/her from the classroom on a weekly basis and that the information shared during this time will be kept confidential. If you have any questions at all about the program the mentor, your child's class teacher or myself would welcome your call.
Parent/Caregiver Signature ____________________________
What might I address with my student?
Mentors can work towards improving a student's school experience in a number of ways.
- provide opportunities for a student to debrief, be listened to and to have a good laugh
- help students to recognise their learning barriers
- help students to recognise their behavioural barriers
- support students in discovering solutions to overcome these
- help their mentee to discover new ways to function more successfully in the classroom by setting up plans on how to do this, and giving feedback on new classroom performances
- help the student to develop their self-awareness or find ways to increase their persistence
- provide learning support in the specific skills of reading, spelling, numeracy or specialised subject areas
- introduce and refine better ways to improve their friendships and peer acceptance
- design ways to strengthen a student's confidence, emotional resilience and self esteem
- assist the student to develop a career path
- provide organisational support by allowing the student to check-in with them to review the week, to make planning adjustments, check timetables and organise for what is upcoming
- occasionally meet with the student's parents or affiliated teachers, with their student present, so the student can see, hear and participate in plans to support their functioning
- set up and actively maintain peer tutoring systems. Systems may begin by simply designing time for an older student to work on a small task with a younger student.
What model should I follow when running the program?
Mentoring can occur in all sorts of ways. It's likely that you will already have a distinct sense about how the mentoring process will work best for you and your student. If you do, then follow your instinct and experience. In addition, investigate other possible models through a web-search, speaking with a knowledgeable colleague or by telephoning your mentoring coordinator. Essentially, there are three models worth considering.
- Mentoring - an informal process
- This sees the relationship operate quite randomly. The essence of this model is the development of a healthy, safe relationship whereby the student, or a small group of students, know they are being supported and can discuss issues as they randomly arise in a bid to find solutions.
- Help mentoring
- This can be carried out either formally or informally. Within this model energy is focussed towards acknowledging a student's difficulty or a particular goal they wish to attain, and offering them ideas that appeal in order for them to achieve what they want. The mentor takes on the role of a guide, a catalyst and sounding board, allowing the student to develop new understandings and new skills.
- Facilitated mentoring
- This model encourages the mentee and mentor to target a specific goal. It insists on explicitly designing a program so that ways to monitor progress and reach the goal are planned. The program is designed so that sub-goals, leading to a final goal, can be filled in on the plan to help 'drip-feed' the student's sense of success. As the program proceeds a evaluations are made so fine-tuning can take place. Finally, at a predetermined time, a final review is constructed to formally determine levels of success achieved.
Ultimately the structure of sessions will be dictated by your relationship with your student and what is happening in their life. Over time a healthy relationship will naturally establish a model that delivers benefits for the student within and beyond school.
What's the student's profile likely to be?
The one thing these students have in common is that they will be experiencing learning, social, emotional or behavioural difficulties at school. They may be trying to cope with very difficult circumstances at home. They are likely to be described as 'at risk' children and teens that could benefit from the friendship, support and encouragement from a caring, stable adult working within the school system. Experience and statistics suggest that the student is more likely to be a male. There is also the likelihood that their parents are separated and the student does not see much of their father.
I've just been matched with a student!
What should I think about and do before we meet?
Here are a few key points to consider as you start planning your first contact:
- Begin to think about what this relationship might be like. How might it work? What is likely to be the 'upside' to this relationship? What is likely to be the 'difficult edge' to the association? It's worth thinking this through now.
- When will you start?
- What you are seeking from it and what you are prepared to offer?
- What purpose do you really want it to serve?
- You will need support from your system and your principal.
- Support may be in the forms of:
- additional time given to access professional readings concerning mentoring
- increased opportunities for training and development
- genuine personal encouragement and opportunities to debrief
- advice and support from leadership and colleagues
- a small budget to cover minor costs
- release time from the classroom, or other duties, to acknowledge your additional commitment
- release time from the classroom so you can run a weekly session with your student
- Discuss the mentoring program with the staff, inform them who the student you will work with is, and what your intentions are. Listen to staff and encourage them to express their thoughts, interest and the concerns they might have at this time.
- Begin speaking with key school personnel involved directly with the student about this new association. In doing so you can ascertain the best time(s) to meet with your new student, discover vital background information and get a feel about the sort of activities you might develop together.
- What other information do you need? This would be an ideal time to contact the student's parents.
- Make contact by phone.
- Organise a brief letter that your student will take home to their parent(s). (The letter will follow up on your phone contact or conversation you'll soon initiate with the student's parents). In the letter introduce yourself, explain the nature of the mentoring program, what you hope may be achieved for their child and show your willingness to form an on-going relationship.
- Don't over-plan. Be flexible. Depending on the student's age, their interests and needs, sessions may vary from incorporating games, doing a little art, playing computer games, kicking a ball or simply talking. Allow for things to unfold as your relationship develops. Start small and take one step at a time.
- Try not to reinvent the wheel because good materials for designing mentoring programs already exist. Start by checking out listings on the Web or use the resources offered here. Talk to your principal, colleagues or phone your mentoring coordinator.
- When problems or worries appear solve them by talking to trusted others.
- Start to think about some specific goals you and your student might like to develop together.
- Be prepared to back out if the fit between yourself and your student doesn't look workable, but be realistic as there is no ideal situation.
- If you're set to start, plan a couple of getting to know one another activities that will 'kick-off' the relationship in the best way.
- To be most effective review and evaluate everything you do. Resist relying on 'feel good' data that may indicate the mentoring was an enjoyable experience or that your student's competencies, knowledge, school attendance, attitudes, and so on seem to have improved. Start to think about simple ways you, your student and others might measure changes as you inch your way to achieve new goals. Your first action here is to purchase a log book to record, plan, goal-set, review and evaluate everything you do!
How do I set up communication with my student's parent(s)?
Once matched with your student it is time to begin to gather some pertinent information about them. You may choose to start with their current class teacher, and then branch out and seek information from staff who have been previously involved.
Next it's time to contact your new student's parents. Face to face contact is best, but because of time constraints, often this first contact is initiated by phone. This first call is crucial, so prepare for it. Your own experience has probably taught you that many parents of children with difficulties or delay live with a heightened state of anxiety about their child's progress and success at school. Once you introduce yourself and explain the program, ask their opinion on ways to best support their child. This should help disarm their worry. Ask: What worries you most? What would you like me to do to help? What has worked best in the past? How can we work on this together? Convey to the parent that you are feeling enthusiastic about this new relationship. Mention that it would be motivating if they could share a little about the mentoring program with their child before you follow up with the student.
Now is a perfect time to offer your school contact phone number and school email address, and assure the parents that you'll regularly update them or contact them when something crops up. To be effective you'll need to keep your student's parents regularly updated. It's up to you to decide how to do this and how often to do it. It's always a good idea to check in with your student's class teacher prior to contacting parents so that you have the most current and accurate information. Ideally, on-going communication should be done within a deliberate framework of steadiness and positiveness.
Occasionally, you will need to explain to a parent that you are not trying to replace their role. Their role as a parent is irreplaceable. Your part is to simply lend support to their child and offer sensible advice and interventions based on your wealth of life and teaching experiences.
What should I say and do at our first meeting?
Planning ahead ensures success at your first meeting:
- Plan how you will introduce yourself. How do you want to present yourself? For example, is it appropriate to have the principal formally introduce you and briefly explain the program to your student, or might it be more personal to do to do this yourself?
- Explain how you see the program working. Discuss your role and your new student's role. Keep this first session short and engaging. Leave your student(s) wanting more. There will be a next time!
- Depending on the age and needs of the student, it may be a good idea to present possible formats for the mentoring sessions.
- Discuss the best place at school to meet. Will you continue to meet where you have today? Does the location offer privacy and professional safety, or if you are working with a small group, does it meet the needs of the group?
- If you are planning to mentor a small group of students, say 2 or 3, plan to have a good deal of structure to begin with. You can always loosen up later, but it's harder to tighten up if a formal program begins with a far too-relaxed approach. Work out a structured process for the group to follow, develop clear roles for participants, plan and have ready 'getting-to-know-you' activities and materials on which students will focus.
- Discuss and gradually work towards narrowing the areas your student might identify as challenging. Ascertain if they might appreciate a little support.
- Are you ready yet to develop some specific goals? If so, write these up! However, expect your program to develop and change. Programs need to be fluid and flexible to meet the changing attributes and needs of students.
- Let your student know that you are always available to them, and their parents, in between sessions.
- Hand out the letter that you previously prepared for your student's parents. It's vital that the letter conveys your willingness to form an on-going relationship and provides your contact numbers and school e-mail. This helps to forge a quality connection.
- Finish up the first session on a good note.
- Make a follow up phone call to your student's parents to let them know how the first meeting went.
- Finally, fill out your log book to record what took place and what was decided at this meeting.
Why do I need to fill out my log book and keep records?
Reviewing, evaluating and carefully documenting everything you and your student do is the hallmark of a skilled mentor. The best mentors hold themselves most accountable. Beyond the 'feel good' data, they realise that by documenting what is happening the effectiveness of the mentoring program improves. Comprehensive documentation also justifies the investment the school and system is making to the program. Furthermore, documentation provides a springboard to coherently explain what you have designed in the program and what you have achieved to your student's parents, their class teacher, your principal and interested colleagues.
Of ultimate benefit is that keeping a log helps you to collect, analyse and crystallise your thoughts. It can become a wonderful planning tool and the basis for writing up a compelling case study at a later date.
What benefits do teacher-mentors receive from the program?
- opportunities to trial new ideas
- improved knowledge of areas related to the teaching/learning relationship
- revitalised enthusiasm
- greater scope to demonstrate new skills
- improved professional recognition
- opportunities for discussions and interactions outside of their regular role
- the development of a responsiveness to issues often felt too difficult to address as a classroom teacher
- satisfaction by contributing to the wellbeing of a student considered to 'be at risk'
- opportunities to speak about the program, their role and experiences to others
- improved opportunities to share experience and knowledge
- improved understandings of equity principles
- a deeper appreciation about their own attitudes and behaviours
- opportunities to refine interpersonal skills - counselling, listening, modelling and leading
- having a different, relationship with the student
- the fulfilment of expanding their professional repertoire
What benefits does the school and system receive from the program?
- an improvement in the services offered
- a more informed and skilled staff
- a cost-effective way to improve staff job satisfaction
- higher staff retention due to greater job satisfaction
- maintenance of the motivation of more experienced people
- more attractive recruitment opportunities
- a more knowledgeable staff member
- an improved school culture regarding diversity and inclusion
- better communication between school staff and parents
- increased support to sustain 'at risk' students
- staff with enhanced planning, counselling, leadership and management skills
- a professional environment where staff are encouraged to develop at the school level
- more enthusiastic and productive staff
- a means to transmit changes in workplace culture
- increased organisational communication and understanding
- progress in strategic planning
What are the challenges for a school or system when implementing this program?
- Difficulty achieving desired outcomes because when working with 'at risk children' the variables are very hard to control.
- Frustrations that occur when goals are not realised.
- Finding the continued commitment of time from staff.
- Can be hard to sell to staff because they already feel professionally stretched.
- Difficulty to coordinate this program with existing programs.
- The administrative complexities of releasing staff for regular mentoring meetings.
- Negative attitudes. "Yes, I know that, but it won't work here because..."
Useful Mentoring Links