Mentoring is an important aspect of schooling, although it is often neglected, even by educators themselves. Although many students often do well without extra assistance, they can do so through extra effort and work on their part. Many students, however, either lack the opportunity or the will to perform better. As a result, they often require mentoring in schools.
Many experts also believe that mentoring can make a difference for students who are exposed to unreliable and even risky influences, such as those that push them to abuse drugs, become sexually active too early, experience early pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Some students may also be exposed to delinquency, truancy and even violence. With the right mentoring programs, exposure of students and other youths from these risks may be reduced or even eliminated.
Implementing mentoring programs in schools
Although recognized as an important part of certain academic processes, mentoring remains as one of the least understood practices in many educational institutions. If not implemented properly, it can become under-utilized, mismanaged or even turn out to be a costly yet ineffective endeavor. To ensure success in the use of mentoring programs in schools, certain considerations must be kept in mind:
The goal of mentoring is to improve student performance in schools and ensure that they are well-prepared for interaction with their social environments. It is important that an organization understands what they wish to attain through their mentoring programs by ensuring that qualitative and quantitative standards are in place.
Goals and objectives of the mentoring program must also be specific and well-structured to allow those implementing it to determine if the procedures are being followed. This is important if compliance is an issue.
Building the core group or staff
A mentoring program within a school will be more effective if a central core of educators is on hand to design, implement and assess it. This will help ensure a well-organized program that is easy to monitor and run.
Recruitment of mentors
The type of mentors to be chosen for the program is indicative of its success. Mentors may be selected through volunteer programs, where other students and even members of the faculty can sign up for the task or through active recruitment wherein mentors may be sought out and asked to join. If necessary, other members of the community may also be tapped.
A set of qualifications may be set in order for mentors to meet quality standards and help streamline the application process.
Screening for mentors
The next step in creating a mentoring program for schools is to screen the mentors for eligibility. After reviewing the applications, the core group can begin interviewing the mentor applicants to determine their fit in the program. This is especially important if there are certain activities that may require extra tasks for the mentors or the mentees. If certain activities off-campus are required, for example, students may have to involve parental permission in order to participate.
Training for mentors
An important part of a mentoring program is mentor training. Just because a person is qualified does not make him a perfect candidate for mentorship. He or she must be able to understand the goals of the program. He must also be informed about certain limitations and boundaries he must work in. Certain communication skills must also be checked or improved if necessary.
Matching mentors with mentees
As one of the final steps for implementing a program for mentoring in schools, pairing mentors with mentees can be a challenge. However, it is important that this is considered carefully. There are no set standards about pairing but most experts suggest it's best to consider personality and mentoring styles in order to create a perfect match. If a certain match proves to be bad, corrections must be implemented immediately.