The Texas sun may still have us thinking it’s summer, but the beginning of the school year is upon us. The first few weeks of school are a very busy time on campuses as enrollment and schedules are finalized. While the dust settles, let’s reflect on some of the feedback we received from our mentees last year when they were asked about their mentors.
You may recall from your New Mentor Orientation, or various trainings and check-ins with your Mentor Directors, that your role as mentor is that of a caring, nonjudgmental listener. Our goal is not to be their tutor or benefactor, but an adult friend who is consistent and gives support. When asked “What would you change about your mentor?”, an astonishing 90% of responding mentees answered some variation of “nothing” or “I’d like to spend more time together”. So often, mentors are unsure that they’re making a difference with short, weekly visits. Based on mentee responses, we know you unequivocally are!
Perhaps even more importantly, your mentees feel understood and supported by you. Seedling staff often talk about the significance of active listening and being fully present with your mentee, and Seedling mentees are fully aware that you’re doing these things. When asked what the best thing about their mentor was, here were some of the responses:
- “He would always listen to the things I’d have to say and never judge me for the person I was.”
- “She listens to me and makes me feel important.”
- “His compassion to listen to me about how time evolves with turns of events”
- “Even when my friends turn their backs on me she never does and always makes me feel special!”
- “We have fun together!”
It’s easy to get swept up into our routines and forget that the simple acts of listening, being fully present, and having fun with your mentee can make a difference. We want to remind you that not only do your mentees notice when you do these things, they also feel validated and heard because of your efforts. As you start a new school year, remember that in the world of mentoring, seemingly small acts have the power to change lives.