What Teachers Teach Us about Being a Mentor


For many of us, teachers are the very first mentors we encounter. Maybe it was the first grade teacher who taught you how to effectively handle playground conflicts (Provides Guidance) or the middle school coach who encouraged you to try out for the track team (Builds Self-Confidence) or the high school math teacher who stayed after school to make sure you finally got that new math concept (Shares Knowledge), whatever the experience, chances are a teacher was there to take your hand and show you how to get to the next level of life.

Today as we celebrate teachers (today is Teacher Appreciation Day), here are 3 things teachers teach us about being a good mentor.


Set High and Realistic Expectations
Not every student is the same, but every student has the opportunity to be successful. Teachers believe that all students can achieve in the classroom and set expectations for each student that are high enough to motivate them to do their best work but are realistic enough to be achieved.
Mentor Tip: In addition to setting expectations for your mentee, don’t forget to set expectations for yourself. What do you expect to achieve at the end of this relationship?


Become a Master of Your Knowledge
Teachers do not stop learning just because they have moved from the desks of the classroom to leading the classroom. They spend a significant amount of time perfecting their craft—learning new skills, embracing new ideas, gaining new knowledge. Their love of learning follows them back to the classroom—not only allowing them to teach their students new things but to inspire their students to never stop learning.
Mentor Tip: In addition to learning more about your area of expertise, participate in leadership workshops or presentations to hone your mentor skills.


Ask “Why”
To get students to go beyond just answering “yes” or “no”, teachers often follow up with a simple “why”—this allows students to look at all sides of a situation and even begin to predict what might happen next. Students who are used to answering “why” grow into adults that continue to ask “why”—challenging the status quo and creating change.
Mentor Tip: Always. Ask. Why.


Want to become a mentor? Join us on November 1st at the University of North Florida for Generation WOW.  Click here for more information & to register as a mentor–or register a wonderful young girl you know to be a Gen WOW mentee! 



image courtesy of cc/unsplash