Setting Visitation Expectations Around Winter Break
November 29, 2022
Seedling

The arrival of winter break signals a variety of challenges for many of us – holidays, travel, gathering with family and friends. It also means one major thing every year: calendar chaos! Between our own holiday commitments and our mentees’ end of semester activities, things can get overwhelming fast. That’s why it’s extremely important to head into December with two dates sorted: your last visit for the fall semester (December) and your first visit of the spring semester (January).

Check in with your school’s calendar as well as with your School Contact and your mentee to make sure you’re accounting for any special circumstances that may be affecting your ability to visit your mentee (exams, class presentations, etc). Some districts do share similar calendars, but it’s always a good idea to keep your mentee’s school calendar bookmarked for easy reference. Since the final week of school before break tends to have a lot of atypical events, we usually encourage mentors to make their last visit of the semester the previous week (for AISD, this would be the week of December 12th-16th, for example).

Equally as important is setting the expectation of when your mentoring visits will resume in the new year. While it’s best to allow a week for students to settle in and schedules to get sorted, you do not want to leave your mentee unsure of when you’ll return. We recommend resuming mentoring visits the week of January 9th, on whatever day you usually mentor. This week should work for all Seedling schools.

If you have not yet had the chance to meet (or reconnect) with your mentee, but you know your first visit will be after the holidays, consider putting together a little “looking forward to meeting you” package. It can be really simple: a note or card introducing yourself and letting your mentee know when you’re going to come for your first visit. You can drop it by the school the week or two before the break. This will get your mentee excited about meeting you while also clearly conveying information about what to expect for the first visit.

Communicate these dates clearly with your mentee and School Contact. Modeling healthy communication and expectations is a big part of mentoring, and by showing your mentee the value of planning ahead and communicating effectively, you are teaching them how to be responsible and considerate of others. As always, if you have any questions on how to best include your mentee and School Contact in this planning process, your Mentor Director is happy to help!

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