Mentoring in a School
When a mentoring program takes place in a school during the instructional day, the mentoring services must be coordinated with other school services such as library, dedicated tutoring, school clubs, and scheduled programs. Mentoring programs need to make sure that mentors have a variety of activities to engage in and quiet spaces where conversations can take place.
Principals and other Administrators
If you are making arrangements and agreements with school personnel and facilities, it is critical to get buy-in from the top. Nothing can happen effectively in school environments without the permission and understanding of school officials. They hold the key to getting effective cooperation from others. They can also be a powerful advocate for your program in the community, attracting volunteers and helping establish partnerships with other youth service organizations.
Teachers can be a valuable source of information about the youth initially and throughout the match:
- If your program gets youth referrals directly from teachers, make sure that you collect the information necessary to make good matches and give mentors the background they need to work with the youth.
- Teachers can also provide information about what is being taught in the classroom, allowing mentors to prepare for specific curriculum-related issues the youth might have.
- Teachers can use their expertise to provide specific tips and guidance to mentors around academic issues and the best ways particular students learn.
- Teachers also should have a voice in your program evaluation, most likely in a survey about the impact they have seen on mentored youth.
- Since they already may have opportunities to interact with parents, teachers can be wonderful advocates for your program and can share information with parents on the impact the mentor is having.
However it works best for your program, keep teachers involved and informed about what your program is providing.
Much like teachers, counselors can be a valuable connection to what happens during the school day:
- They may be able to provide feedback on youth’s relations with peers and faculty and help the mentor better understand the personality and social development of their mentee.
- Counselors can be a source of information about issues that youth are having with particular teachers.
- Counselors might be able to help refer students to the program.
- As with teachers, counselors can also be great advocates of the program and communicators of match progress to parents and guardians.
The focus of a school counselor allows them to be very helpful to your mentors in learning about the things that affect a young person’s ability to find success academically.
The library just might be the most valuable place on campus for a mentor and mentee to have developmental time that can affect academics. If possible, make arrangements to provide your matches with access to the school library. You may be able to arrange special off-hour meeting times or even special library programming for your matches. A love of libraries is a key to lifelong learning, and your program should foster this through mentoring.
Many youth find their connection to school through athletics. For some, their coach is their first mentor, often in an informal sense. Coaches can provide access to equipment and athletic areas on campus. They can also be a valued source of information about the youth for the mentor. If you have youth in your program who participate in sports, make sure you tell their coaches about your program and the mentor their athletes have been paired with.
(Taken from the U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center)