Why mentorship should be encouraged to your students.
Mentorship is often overlooked as a viable method to supplement learning and increase the probability of academic success and enhanced social capital for kids of all ages. Recently, I was asked a series of questions and provided the following responses that I’d like to share with you.
Q: Why is mentoring necessary for “tween” or teenage students?
When students are in the “tween” years, their peers have a major influence on the way they think and behave. Because they are similar in age and developmental stage, they are often immature and short-sighted in their thinking and analysis. As a result, tween peers often have undue influence over their thought processes and decision making.
For this reason, mentors during the tween years are crucial. A mentor can balance the seemingly overwhelming influence of peers and help students understand the short, medium and long-term consequences of their decisions. In fact, mentors have the ability to share life experiences that peers simply do not have. Through modeling, sharing successes and failures and providing practical steps to achieve success through good decision making, mentors can fill a role that peers cannot.
For younger students, mentors can serve as an additional resource to help establish or solidify a firm foundation of good decision-making and goal setting, as opposed to working to “undo” negative thinking or habits that tweeners sometimes adopt. In addition, younger students are often less jaded than teenagers because they are younger and are often more trusting of mentoring relationships.
Q: How does mentoring aid in students reaching higher education?
Successful mentors who pursued graduate or post graduate degrees are tangible evidence regarding the overall benefits of higher education and why its pursuit is a key to accessing a better quality of life for them and their families. Many young students do not strive to move beyond their current circumstances because they have not been exposed to varied career choices or have access to high achieving professionals within those careers. Among its many benefits, mentoring provides students with a visual of success and exposes them to career choices and possibilities that were not previously considered. In addition, strong mentoring relationships provide mentees with the guidance and support necessary for them to complete higher education studies before entering the workforce full-time. The familial, financial and social benefits of higher education are undeniable, and good mentors know that and tout the virtues of higher education.
The power of potential through mentorship should not be underestimated or ignored. The benefits are tangible and can be transformational. They were for me.