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Strengthening our Mentoring Muscles

To keep in tiptop mentoring shape, why not set a goal for 2022 to strengthen your mentoring muscles and continue to be the best mentor you can be?   By focusing on this goal, you are on the path to re-energize your mentoring intentions.  To start, one must simply go “back to the basics” of mentoring and make sure we are building a strong core, or relationship, with our mentee.  The Search Institute’s key elements of mentoring reminds us of what is important: 

  • Expressing Care–  Mentors do this by being dependable and spending quality time with their mentees.  
  • Being Supportive- By listening and believing in them, mentors promote connection and enhance their mentee’s self-esteem.  
  • Sharing power- Mentors do this by following their mentee’s lead.  It is always best to have an activity planned and ready for your visit, but it is equally important to encourage your mentee to initiate or choose the activity, as well as lead it. When mentors engage in and appear to enjoy a mentee-led activity, the child feels valuable and accomplished.
  • Exploring our mentee’s interests and expanding their possibilities-  Mentors do this by paying attention to what our mentee is interested in and exploring it with them.  We can open up possibilities by introducing them to different and new things so they can explore what they like.     

To see how a teacher/mentor applied these key relationship elements watch this video.

Seedling has compiled many activities to have ready for mentoringEven if you have played them before the pandemic, remember our mentees have grown a whole year and are different people.  

And finally, a caring and supportive way to engage our mentee is through a self-esteem activity like the two found below. 

Mentee Self-Appreciation Journal

Bring an empty notebook or journal each time you visit.  Encourage your mentee to write something they appreciate about themselves in the notebook.  You may need to help them get started by prompting them with statements such as

  • “I know I’m good at……”  
  • “I feel best about myself when…..” 
  • “I am unique because….”

The goal is to only seek the positive. Even if they are having a bad day, encourage them to seek out the good side of who they are This exercise helps promote self-love and self-acceptance, which are great building blocks for self-esteem.

Wall of Fame

As you mentor through the next semester, choose something that is notable, stands out or that you are proud of that your mentee did.  Write it down and create a wall of fame.  At the end of the semester, present it to the mentee.  This can be a great closure activity whether it is closure until next school year, or saying goodbye forever. 

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