Successful student mentoring depends on the program structure and the relationship between the mentor and mentee. Like all relationships, mentoring takes time and requires consistency.
A structured relationship between mentees and mentors:
- focuses on the needs of the students
- models and fosters a healthy and confident disposition
- supports students in managing their own behaviour
- encourages and develops positive student attitudes and outlooks.
The role of mentors
Mentors have a pivotal role in fostering a positive and authentic relationship with their student mentee.
Mentors are expected to:
- have good communication skills
- be respectful and non-judgemental of young people
- be reliable
- be committed to the mentoring program
- understand and respect the boundaries of the mentoring relationship.
Matching mentors and students
A variety of formal and informal strategies can be used to match students and mentors. These include:
- pre-mentoring surveys and matching complimentary skills and interests
- mentor/mentee meet and greet to observe how students and mentors interact
- participants select who they want to work with.
Types of mentors
Community involvement can include parents, local businesses and professionals who bring a range of skills and experience. People from diverse backgrounds can provide valuable insights for students and help them develop in areas they wish to improve.
Schools need to ensure community member mentors satisfy the requirements of the Working With Children Check Policy.
A mentoring relationship is different to a teaching relationship. It addresses matters relevant to the student that go beyond the curriculum. It is advised that teachers mentor students they do not teach.
Student mentors can motivate, guide and be a role model to younger students. This can include facilitating student transition from one learning stage to the next.
Stages of the mentoring relationship
Mentoring programs consists of 3 broad stages with a beginning, middle and end. Each stage contributes to the mentoring relationship and requires thought and planning on behalf of both mentors and students.
Beginning – developing rapport and building trust
During this stage, mentors and students begin to develop a trusting relationship based on openness, mutual respect and honesty. Mentors should tell their students that information remains confidential unless the student or someone else is in danger.
The early stage is the time where the mentor and student develop long and/or short term goals.
Middle – working towards goals
During this stage, the mentors and students work towards achieving the goals developed during the beginning stage. Mentors and students should regularly review strategies and track their progress towards achieving their goals. Adjustments should be made when required.
End – reflecting and ending
This stage provides an important opportunity for the mentor and student to reflect on what they have learned from the mentoring relationship.
All mentoring relationships conclude at the end of the mentoring program. This is often highlighted through a celebration, assembly or graduation ceremony.