One of the needs every individual has is to feel validated. As educators, we set it as a priority to establish positive relationships with co-workers, students, and families. However, we do not spend enough time helping each other learn how to accomplish them. One way is mentoring!
Why not start a mentoring program at your school? Teachers mentor other teachers, staff members mentor students, students mentor students, parents help to mentor other mentors. When mentoring becomes the norm, you can begin to see a more helpful and welcoming environment. The wonderful thing about mentoring is the benefit both receive!
In that list of mentors, I left out the most crucial role that needs a mentor the most, the principal. Often we forget to feed our leaders with rich development and dedicated support to help the schools the most. Is there a fear of having a mentor or coach? Is this a signal the leadership is not strong? I sure hope not.
Mentors are “trusted” wise individuals who offer advice, suggestions, ideas, teach, and model. Sooner or later in our lives, we all need inspiration, direction, and instruction as we face many different things. Even mentors and coaches need to have someone to help them too. We can prepare, be informed, and try to keep up with everything, but if we try that approach, burnout is what we will have.
Modeling for others is the best way to get mentoring started. Provide information about your mentoring experience and see if anyone is interested in participating. Mentors are the best cheerleaders for those they are mentoring. They are also the ones that will provide a reality check—in addition, stretching you to reach beyond your comfort zone to achieve goals.
Rules to Mentoring
- Help establish goals
- Be an active listener
- Ask questions to stretch thinking
- Facilitate Problem Solving with an open-minded approach
- Be consistent with offering time
- Confidentiality and trustworthy
- Keep the focus on the individual and not you
- Honest feedback
Expectations from Receiving Mentoring
- Help with goal setting
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses
- Providing new ways to look at situations
- Learning new skills
- Gathering tools, strategies, and resources
- Networking with others to build professional connections
- Confidence, Inspiration, Motivation
Every mentoring relationship is different. How you set up your work together is how the outcomes will be developed. At the first meeting together, you can establish the goals you want from the mentoring process.