A mentor plays a significant role in students’ lives, both in their educational development and social and personal development. Having a mentor is especially essential in a student’s life. So young and inexperienced in their field, they will always need someone to guide them, teach them, and show them the right way to do things.
They will need someone to help them celebrate their success and show them how to learn from their failures. If you are interested in teaching and helping your students but don’t know how don’t worry, we have got you. You have the potential to be a great mentor; you only need a little guidance on figuring out how.
Half the battle is just showing up. Accessibility is the goal when you want to be able to be there for your students. You can’t be a good mentor if you’re not there at all. Thus, you must reach out to your students, as it is very likely that many students will hesitate to contact you until the last moment. Make it a point to make regular appearances through weekly meetings or office hours.
Always respond to your email and texts–it doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you do it. Your students only need to they can count on you. Hence, keep the lines of communication open so that you can answer their questions and concerns, providing the reassurance they need. The effort you make will go a long way in helping both parties to get to know each other. When you know them, you will learn how to help them.
Students are inexperienced baby chicks who need help to learn how to fly. They have dreams, expectations, and ideas about what they want to do. But to give them structure and direction, you will have to articulate your expectations for them. You need to interact with your students and talk to them about what they can anticipate from you as a mentor; you should define roles and relationships with your students.
At the same time, you should also effectively evaluate your students’ knowledge level, skill, and ability so that you know where to begin. Doing this will give you a better picture of what you can expect and modify your methods to educate and challenge them. Everyone has different abilities and strengths, and unless you set flexible expectations, you will never help your students realize them.
Be a Positive Role Model
As a student’s mentor, you also become their role model by default. They will look up to you and look to you for what they should do. A student will learn plenty just by observing what you do, the path you chose, how you interact with others, and what you focus their attention on. It is not uncommon for them to emulate you because that’s how they think they can be successful.
Thus, it becomes your responsibility to be a positive role model who is someone worth emulating. You are no longer just an individual. You are some who inspires, motivates, and encourages. Thus, it would help if you were someone worth being a role model, someone who deserves the title and the respect that comes with it.
Share Your Experiences and Insights
Your students are here to learn from you. They will have questions–heaps and heaps of questions—about who you are and how you got there, and what they should do. A great way to answer those questions is to share your own experiences and insights. Spread your wisdom a little so that your students might learn something too. It can be more helpful than you think.
Sharing your stories also goes a long way in humanizing yourself, especially when you share stories about your mistakes and failures. That is how you can teach your students. It holds more weight and value than you think it will. It helps your students get acquainted with what kind of challenges will arise and how they might deal with them, as well. By sharing your experiences, you will help assuage a lot of doubt and uncertainty as you will give them a fair idea of what to expect.
Acknowledge their Successes as Much as Their Failures
As a student, your mentees will fail a lot. But they will succeed a lot as well. Your duty in all of this is to be motivating, encouraging, and a pillar of support as they go through these ups and downs. When they fail, it is your responsibility to give constructive feedback and point out their weakness so that they can improve. You need to gentle but firm, always telling them how they can proceed from this setback. They have enough challenges as it, so they do not need someone crushing their spirits. By giving thoughtful and wise advice, you will help your students gain insight into their skills and weakness and make progress.
But, it is not enough only to help them learn from their failures–you need to be there when they succeed, as well. Highlight their achievements and celebrate them as much as you would celebrate yours. It helps students build confidence and become more assured of their abilities.
These students want to be seen by you, so be there when they achieve something. And remember, their achievements are always a reflection of you.
Being a mentor is demanding, but it is not impossible. Some days might be more complicated than others, and some students might take longer to crack than others, but it is a rewarding experience. If you truly want to shape and change lives for the better, you must put in the time and effort to see that happen. It takes small steps, a little advice, and a lot of practice to get things right. And who knows? It might change your life, as well.