Welcome back Mentors! We are excited to reconnect with you and begin supporting your Seedling mentoring match. While beginning the school year mentoring through a computer screen may seem less than personal, Seedling has employed a virtual platform specifically designed for individual mentoring. We are certain that with a little practice and preparation, your mentoring visit will continue to be the bright spot in your mentee’s week! (Your Mentor Director will be providing detailed instructions on how to navigate our new platform soon.)
As you begin planning your mentoring visits, keep in mind that your mentee will most likely be spending a fair amount of time on the computer, learning in a virtual classroom and completing assignments. The goal of Seedling mentoring, even virtually, is meant to be fun, supportive, and a nice break from the school day. So as you get ready, consider these tips and virtual mentoring guidance:
Preparation Before Your Virtual Visit
- Set yourself up in a quiet, private area, free of distractions. Remember, we must still respect your mentee’s confidentiality.
- Assess what your mentee will see. Is your background child appropriate? Take steps to ensure it is calming and neutral, i.e.: no personal photos, or messes. Make sure the room is well lit, and free of inappropriate artwork.
- Alert family members in your home that you will be in a virtual video session. Share the time frame with them to minimize noise, interruptions, and anyone coming into the field of view in the background.
- Put your phone on silent or do not disturb prior to your virtual meeting.
- Consider your appearance. Are you “camera ready?” Remember that your mentee is accustomed to seeing you in work clothes, or school appropriate attire. Be mindful of what you are wearing, ruling out shirts that have images or slogans that are not acceptable if you were to walk into a school; remember parents can see your attire along with the child.
- Before your meeting, log in to the virtual platform on your computer to test for any technical issues (you will receive detailed information about the platform from your Mentor Director soon).
- How is your internet connectivity?
- Are you close to your router?
- Are your speakers working?
- Log in early to your virtual meeting room so that you will be on-time for your visit.
- Prepare in advance, for your activity and conversation starters.
During Your Visit
- Let them see your face! Actually seeing your face is very important to re-connecting.
- Continue your mentoring traditions and rituals. How did you greet your mentee? Did you open with sharing about your week or talking about the best thing that’s happened thus far? Using creativity to recreate your rituals virtually is important to bring a sense of normalcy.
- Discuss with your mentee how they’d like to spend their virtual time with you. Offer suggestions! (activity idea list to come)
- Be prepared that you may be meeting the Caregiver and other family members.
- Remember to speak and act as you would if you were in a school setting even though you may feel more relaxed from your home (no profanity, be polite, practice kindness).
After Your Visit
- Contact your Mentor Director and let them know how it went.
We are consistently humbled by the dedication and fortitude of our Seedling Mentors. We are confident this year will be no different. We’ve got this!