All About Juvenile Mentoring Programs Guiding young people toward a better life can be a rewarding experience, but it can be a difficult and harrowing experience as well. Many young persons are not necessarily open to being guided, and will often protest that they are shackled and constrained especially when someone insists on being the wiser being over them. Young persons need to be approached in a certain manner, and with a certain mien and creativity that should not go overboard into cuteness or cheesy lines. In other words, young persons need to know that they have someone to talk to, and in the process, they can still be guided. It is in this league that juvenile mentoring programs operate. The process of mentoring involves matching mentors to a suitable younger person who need an adult who is responsible and caring. The adult mentors that participate in juvenile mentoring programs are usually not related to the teen or the child in question; this is because relatives are not often perceived with trust, especially where children of broken homes or abusive parents are concerned. The adult mentors that participate in juvenile mentoring programs are also usually volunteers who work through a program that is sponsored by the local community; a local school or community college; or the local church or religious group. The mentoring process may be either formal or informal. In formal mentoring, the juvenile mentoring program has certain criteria to match mentors to their proteges, and these criteria are determined by social service workers, social psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts who are working with the local community or the state. Formal mentoring might even involve a regimented schedule around which the mentoring will progress, where the mentor will be provided modules in order to guide the proteges or youth that are assigned to them. Informal mentoring can also be done in a juvenile mentoring program. In this case, the criteria are not as stringent, and there are no set deadlines or schedules around which the mentoring will operate. Instead, the mentor will simply aim to educate and encourage the mentee, protege, or youth to whom he or she is assigned. In some cases, there may be more than one mentee to a mentor, and it is these support groups that likewise help each other succeed. There are many juvenile mentoring programs that are available around the world. For instance, there are after-school programs in which youth leaders help younger persons succeed in the world by teaching them different skills, knowledge, and even arts and crafts that are meant to impart independence and creativity. Such organizations might include the local 4-H or FFA. There are also programs in which young delinquents are assigned to mentors who will help them get a better education. Moreover, there are programs in which at-risk youth, such as those in inner cities or in the ghettos, are helped by mentors who will help them overcome their personal limitations and thus succeed in life. Some juvenile mentoring programs might include the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which helps youth do better through the help of older teens or young adults. There are still many other juvenile mentoring programs that are being developed, especially now that there are also many different kinds of dangers to which youth may fall into. Such dangers may include drugs, smoking, pornography, and even the Internet, where children may be preyed upon if they are not wise and careful enough. If you want to find out more about juvenile mentoring programs, look online for programs that may either help you as a mentee, or train you as a mentor. You too, can help the younger generation do better in the years to come. The Concepts of Mentoring, Coaching, and Directing Being a guide for someone is definitely not an easy task. You have to be experienced and wise enough to be able to share knowledge and wisdom, and moreover, you need to be able to know how to share your knowledge and wisdom well enough in order to be completely understood. You also have to know how to approach people, how to empower and encourage them, and how to make them feel better about themselves without babying them. You also have to tread the fine line between cloistering people and keeping them away from the wrong path in life, while still giving them the chance to learn on their own by making a few mistakes on their way to greatness. There are many different ways that you can be a guide to a potential follower, and it all depends on what you aim to do, as well as on how control you are willing to exert. There are three main paths that you may want to take as the guide, and you can do this through mentoring, coaching, or directing. Although these three different types of guidance are often mixed together or interchanged in both conversation and media, there are actually subtle differences amongst them that you need to understand and explore. In mentoring or mentorship, you are dealing with a relationship between a mentor, who is more experienced, knowledgeable, and wise; and a protege, who is less experienced, probably (but not always) younger, and sometimes flighty and uncertain. A mentor will often be more prominent than the protege, or more skilled in a particular field. The mentor is then the teacher of the protege, and serves as the guide for the protege to do better in the field. Most often, a mentor will teach by example on the job itself: for instance, a mentor opera singer will have a protege who the opera singer will take on while the opera singer is at the peak of his or her career, and while the protege is just starting out. By emulating the opera singer, the protege will hopefully succeed one day as well. On the other hand, coaching refers to a guidance process in which a person, acting as a leader, oversees a group of persons, or sometimes even a single person, with the aim of achieving a goal. Coaching differs from mentoring in that a coach will often be out of or done with his or her career already, and will therefore be teaching a younger generation based on his or her experiences. Another difference between coaching and mentoring is that coaching often has only a single goal in mind, while mentoring might be more abstract and widespread in its aims. Coaching is most popularly seen in sports teams, where a person who has once been a good player is now helping other players to succeed in their game, and with the aim of as many victories as possible for the team. Another popular coaching technique is that of life coaching. In this case, a person is not necessarily dead done with life, and coming back to teach the living. Instead, a person is already successful enough and is probably ready for retirement, but is coaching other people in making their lives start to work. In a variant of life coaching, a person who has already faced all of his or her fears can also coach persons who are still living in fear, helping them to get over their anxieties and emerge as better people. Lastly, the process of directing involves the instruction of a higher person to that of a lower person. In the mentor and protege relationship, the mentor acts as a guide, not as someone who makes orders; a guide will steer a student through to the right path, but not point it out directly. In the coach and team relationship, the coach acts as an encouraging person, and even as a trainer, but not as someone who directly tells the team what to do. In directing, a boss-employee relationship would be closer in definition, especially when the higher person is ordering the lower person on how exactly to live his or her life. Saving At-Risk Youth by Mentoring The youth, it is said that they are the hope of the new generation. But what happens if at an early age they fall victim and/or exposed to a society that is plagued by racial discrimination, use of illegal drugs, pornography that led to rape and unwanted pregnancies, robberies, gang wars in schools that cause death by shootouts, and to many to mention and indeed very depressing. This is the society that youth today see everyday. It is a reality and a sad fact that we must accept as part of our daily lives. What can we do to lessen the effects of the ills of society to our youth? Saving at-risk youth by mentoring may just be the answer, it may not eradicate the problem at once, but it is a start. Mentoring our children does make a huge difference. It is a way to reintroduce a positive regular activity by a grown-up to a child. Children who are mentored while growing up are unlikely to succumb to using illegal drugs, unlikely to start depending on alcohol, and unlikely to miss out school. If we incorporate mentoring in our home, school and even the church it can, and it will help greatly in decreasing the cause and effect of suspension due to the use of illegal drugs, crimes related to drugs, babies born who are drug affected and possibly more. It is just a matter of how we really want to help eradicate the problems of our youth. At-risk children badly need the guidance and friendship that youth mentors give. A child will definitely yearn for adult support when faced with parent's divorce, family heartbreaks, and financial troubles. These children need mentoring with their family problems, school works, peer pressures or just someone who would listen and give an unwavering support. Regrettably, teachers in school who teach at a crowded classroom will have no time to provide individual attention. Guidance counselors are very busy too, because they deal with the whole population of the school. Most of the time guidance counselors can only give less than four hours of career guidance to a student in their four years in high school (that is just like one hour a year!). There are millions of at-risk young children who desperately need mentoring. Nowadays, communities are seriously looking into setting-up programs for volunteer youth mentors, because they see and understand that need to help these children cope up with their daily lives. At-risk children who are guided by an efficient role model mentor are more than likely to have a progressive educational performance, self-esteem, good decision-making traits, and a sense of fitting in. Youth who enters mentoring programs will be inclined to have good interactions with their teachers, parents and other siblings as well as their peers. They will also be more inspired to focus on their studies and eventually finish their schooling. A youth mentor assists at-risk children in setting up their goals and ambitions, resolve their personal problems, and make appropriate decisions and choices in life. However, youth mentors are not there to replace what a parent can give to their children. Youth mentors are simply there to give help and be role models for at-risk children. Simple and easy activities like doing school assignments and projects, going to parks and museums, engaging in some sports and playing games, and doing art and crafts projects is enough for a child who is more that eager to be guided and to feel a sense of security that they are protected from the evils that lurk in the dark. In the end saving at-risk youth by mentoring will have a great impact in the society we live in for years to come. Teacher Mentoring Defined: Uses, Advantages and Limitations For many professionals, such as those involved in education and academics, mentoring is an important resource, particularly because it helps encourage new learnings and improve on established ones. Mentoring is a highly valued practice and it is a recognized method used by many educators for sharing information and knowledge. It is also a way for more senior members of the academe to train beginners, allowing proteges to be sponsored both professionally and organizationally. The purpose of teacher mentoring Teacher mentoring involves the pairing of a beginning teacher with a teacher who has more experience. Sometimes, the pairing can involve one or more new teachers or a group of more experienced teachers, depending on the perceived need of the beginning teacher/s and the goals of the organization. The purpose of teacher mentoring is not only to build a mentor-protege relationship between two or more individuals but also to provide support for the new teacher. This will help establish the teacher's confidence, allow them to settle into the organization immediately and maximize their effectiveness as instructors. Mentoring can also help establish an educational system's quality standard, allowing a school to ensure compliance with prevailing benchmarks. It is also helpful in the recruitment and retention of new staff. As a process, teacher mentoring may be used formally, such as when a school wishes to implement particular programs or informally, where no programs are in place. Either way, it can benefit a system if the program is implemented correctly. Benefits of teacher mentoring in education Teacher mentoring is one of the best interactive systems that mentors, mentees and the educational system can actively participate in. It helps create a quantitative program to help train new teachers, develop more experienced educators and improve the techniques and methods used in instruction. It also helps build a sense of community within the school and help it comply with existing standards. Limitations of teacher mentoring Teacher mentoring has its benefits and has been acknowledged as very advantageous especially for beginners. However, it has its list of disadvantages. In 1996, teacher mentoring was criticized as a means with which to promote practices and norms that are deemed too conventional. Critics say that most teacher mentoring programs encourage participants to learn and implement outdated practices. Teacher mentoring participants may also risk picking up bad habits as demonstrated by their mentors. The lack of trust and follow-up can also spell a huge difference in teacher mentoring programs. If the system cannot be assessed or evaluated properly, it is easy for the program to fail. An ineffective evaluation system can also frustrate the mentor, especially if the system is too saddled with details and other unnecessary activities. Implementing an effective teacher mentoring program The most important consideration when implementing a teacher mentoring program for an educational institution is determining its match to the goals and objectives of the school system. Choosing the type of mentoring programs that are appropriate to the grade level of the teacher mentee is also essential. If there is a fit, it is easier for the program to be designed and put into practice. It is also important that the processes and methods are clear and specific, something that can be quantified and measured, to allow administrators to determine whether the program works or not. It is also important that the teacher mentoring program receives sufficient support from the school management and that sufficient resources are provided for the participants. Without support from the administration, a mentoring program will be difficult to sustain if it is run independently of the institution. Appropriate methods for assessment of the program is also important, to allow the organization to determine if it is effective or if there is a need to improve certain aspects. A Definition of Mentoring When people say that "no man is an island," they don't only mean that no man or woman should live alone. That much-used phrase also refers to the fact that men and women are perpetually learning creatures: they need the help of someone to guide them through life, and to help them make wise decisions. Moreover, as these same men and women grow older, they also have the chance to be a guide for someone who is younger and less experienced than they. This need for people to feel connected, loved, and taught by someone better than they are has given rise to different concepts such as mentoring. Mentoring, or the process of mentorship, is really a growing, strengthening bond that occurs between a mentor, who is more experienced, not necessarily older, but who is certainly wiser; and his or her protege, a mentee or someone who is less experienced and wise, and who therefore needs to be guided by the mentor. The concept of mentorship has long been known and tracked in history. In fact, it was Homer's Odyssey that first gave rise to the term "mentor" through its character called Mentor, who, despite the fact that he is presented as a somewhat debilitated old man, is actually used by Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, to guide Odysseus' son Telemachus through a difficult time in the young man's life. The concept of mentorship also takes various forms in different cultures and periods of history. The Ancient Greeks had the concept of pederasty, in which teachers could hone young men to greatness. The Hindu and Buddhist religions have the concept of the guru, where a wise, religious man serves as the spiritual guide of someone who is misguided or who needs to know the Truth. In Judaism and Christianity, the concept of discipleship forms both history and current practice, as clergy or deeply spiritual people guide their respective flocks or followers. Lastly, in the medieval guilds, an economic system was built in order for apprentices to learn from guild masters and thus ensure the longevity of their respective crafts. There are many famous mentor-protege relationships in history. Take, for instance, the triplet of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, three great minds in philosophy who actually preceded each other. That is, Socrates was the mentor of Plato, and Plato was the mentor of Aristotle. Aristotle was even the mentor of Alexander the Great. The Christian faiths owe a good deal of their spread to the letters and preaching of St. Paul. In the music industry, the rapper Dr. Dre is mentor to younger rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg. In the movie industry, the famous and late British actor Sir Laurence Olivier served as mentor for multi-awarded actor Sir Anthony Hopkins. Even fiction has its own share of mentors and proteges. There are the Jedi knights of the famous Star Wars epics, where Qui-Gon Jinn mentors Obi-Wan Kenobi; when Qui-Gon Jinn dies, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes on Anakin Skywalker; Luke Skywalker, Anakin's son, is mentored by Yoda. The master-padawan relationship in the Star Wars series is actually akin to that of a mentor and protege, not so much fighting or sparring partners. In the employment arena, there are also mentoring programs to help employees do better. For instance, in new-hire mentorship, new employees are taken on by experienced persons in the company in order for them to work better and be accustomed to the company culture and climate. In high-potential mentorship on the other hand, existing employees that show promise are taken on by experienced persons who may be interested in seeing them progress higher through the company hierarchy. These are only a few facts that are associated with mentoring. There are many mentoring and mentorship programs available, and you can find out more about them through the Internet. The Concepts of Coaching and Mentoring Guiding people through the right way through life can be a daunting task for any person who is tasked to do it. A person who has to do the guiding has a lot of delicate balances to strike: he or she has to be strong enough to reprimand the person who is following him or her when that follower is not being obedient or is straying from the right path; on the other hand, he or she has to sometimes allow the follower the chance to stray, so that the follower can gain experience and thus be much wiser. There are many different things that a person has to do to guide his or her follower or followers, and these concepts of guidance are covered under coaching and mentoring. The process of mentoring involves the relationship and bonding between master and pupil, a togetherness that is more commonly referred to as mentor and protege. A mentor is someone who may sometimes be older, but who is certainly more knowledgeable, more wise, and perhaps even more serene and settled than what might predictably be a less knowledgeable, less wise, and flighty protege. The mentor's task is to be the guide for the inexperienced protege: as the protege learns more and more from the mentor, the protege is farther thrust into greatness. The mentor-protege relationship has long existed in history, and has been glorified by pop media. There are also many different mentor-protege relationships in the modern world. For instance, when an employee first enters a company or business, he or she is adopted by someone who has been in the company or business for a long while. Because a new employee might experience culture shock, or might not be prepared for the rigors of the current workplace, the mentor serves as a buffer and guide through how the company or business operates, making the transition easier for the protege. Still in line with workplace relationships, an existing employee might show potential as someone who could one day lead, or who could move on and be great elsewhere. In this case, a person experienced in the company could informally take on this employee and be his or her mentor. In this relationship, the mentor will teach the protege the necessary skills to advance in the workplace, so that one day, the protege might perhaps take the mentor's place, advance elsewhere in the hierarchy, or move on to another company and do even better. The concept of coaching, on the other hand, is quite different from that of mentoring. In coaching, a method is employed in which a leader or overseer directs the movements of a person or a group of persons. In coaching, the instruction and training given are done with a definite end goal in mind. The methods of directing people's movements and thought process might include giving motivational talks. There are also ways to train people in order to make them perform better, such as through seminars or workshops, or through practice, such as those done by sports teams. In mentoring, a mentor teaches a protege how to live better or how to function better. In coaching, perhaps better seen as a more specific method of mentoring, the coach guides his or her team in order for them to meet an end goal. For sports coaches, this will mean victory in a game. For marriage coaches, this will mean a stronger marital bond. For family coaches, this will mean a stronger familial bond, between parents and children, and sometimes, amongst the children themselves. There are many different kinds of mentoring and coaching, as well as different techniques associated with each. For more information, you can talk to professional mentors and coaches, or do more research online. Youth The Concepts Behind Christian Mentoring The process of guiding and mentoring people is a highly delicate one: mentors need to be able to allow their proteges to progress and get out of their shells, but they have to strike the balance between directing the movements of their followers while still allowing these fledglings time to find the strength of their own wings and fly with their own will. One such form of mentoring is Christian mentoring, in which a Christian looks after a protege who may or may not be a Christian, but who will benefit from the strength and wisdom of the older or more experienced person. One such mentoring relationship, at least in the Christian sense, is that between a senior pastor and his junior. The former will guide the younger in speaking the voice of God, and in bringing a sense of unity and Christian goodness to a flock. Another such Christian mentoring relationship is that between parents and children, where Christian parents have to guide their children in following the Christian way of living. Christian mentoring, therefore, is the passing down and sharing of knowledge and wisdom by someone who is an expert in a field, and with the precepts and principles of Christianity guiding the mentor and protege. In general, Christian mentoring programs will help people guide those who are younger than they in living a Christian way of life. Some mentoring programs will even exhort would-be or aspiring mentors to do two things at the onset: find a good mentor who will pass down knowledge and get an aspiring mentor started on good living and good Christian teachings; and, at nearly the same time, find a protege who might benefit from your teaching and wisdom further down the line. Once these two persons are identified, a would-be or aspiring mentor is exhorted to be as creative as possible in meeting such people. These meetings might be as simple as stopping over at someone's house, meeting over for coffee, or having dinner together. Another way for the mentor and protege to meet is through a shared hobby. Such a hobby might include running, biking, writing poetry, reading books, or even cooking. Despite the image of intense and sometimes alienating spirituality attached to Christian mentoring, many Christian mentoring programs are actually more about building a stronger relationship between mentor and protege. The shared hobby may actually be a simple beginning: many mentors will share tasks with their proteges, such as smaller jobs at one's office, training the protege in various tasks, or simply listening to the protege talk. What makes Christian mentoring unique, however, is its emphasis on things that would otherwise make people appear vulnerable in the secular arena. For instance, mentors and proteges are required to listen to each other intently, and to avoid speaking about oneself as much as possible in order to learn better. Second, mentors and proteges are required to be as real and as truthful to each other as possible. Honesty is certainly the best policy in Christian mentoring, and if a protege is feeling down, awkward, unwanted, or simply out of sorts, he or she is encouraged to talk to his or her mentor and humbly ask for guidance. There are many different kinds of Christian mentoring programs out there. If you need more information, talk to your local Christian pastor, or do research over the Internet. Many such mentoring programs also have their own websites and mailing lists that can make it easier for you to read about their activities and enroll in their program. Mentoring: A Glue that Binds African Traditions When the subject of conversation turns to rich culture and traditions, Africa would definitely be a part of that discussion. And with the voyage of Africans to the Great Americas, these people have endured so much -- poverty, discrimination, racism and numerous other attacks. The society, as it seemed, had waged war against this race but they were resilient. And now that they are among a different nation, it is imperative that these African Americans uphold their traditions. Just looking at how African Americans survived the slavery and intolerance against them, you would grow to respect these people. But what made them pliant to all these trials? Was it keeping their traditions? If it was, how did these traditions reach the modern day African American kids? Handing down these customs to younger generations meant having someone teach the ways of the old. This is where mentoring comes in. Mentoring is simply defined as a process where an experienced individual gives support and encouragement to a person who has less experience. The mentor then serves as the advisor though his example and guidance. Mentoring could be informal or formal. With formal mentoring among African Americans, the mentor could be the guide of the student on his academic works. He could also guide the student to community affairs which aim to maintain their traditions through several factors such as religion, music, poetry, and others. It could also be as serious as coping with racial discrimination and how to be confident despite the environmental circumstances. With informal mentoring, it could simply mean teaching time management or networking with the same groups of people. But what are the traditions that need to be handed down to the next generation? Looking at the younger generations of African Americans now, we can conclude that they have gone a long way and have improved immensely in all aspects. Confidence and self-worth is a great part of African American mentoring. What is there to be ashamed about their culture anyway? They are a great people and they value close family ties, respect for the elderly and they excel in arts and sports. Due to this need for mentoring among the black race, 100 Black Men, Inc. was born in 1963. Its purpose is to improve African American lives in a community full of whites. Currently, there are famous members such as Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, to name a few. Mentoring was and still is an essential duty of this organization. One of their programs intended that children ages nine until post secondary learning would get holistic knowledge through some rites of passage which includes preparation of the males for their manhood. Also, the subjects cover aspects of heritage, family, etiquette, survival and other skills, and even faith. Resource management, athletics and tutoring are also essential parts of the learning process. By taking part in such mentoring activities, the young African American would develop better understanding of his culture. Pride and self-esteem would also be established without disrespecting other colors or race. The mentoring process, in general, teaches respect and appreciation for the African culture. By knowing the rich history and contemporary assets of these people, they are better able to keep and protect what rightfully belongs to them which no amount of slavery would be able to corrupt. How Mentoring Programs Establish Self-Confidence Mentoring programs establish the self-confidence and the self-assurance of a mentee who uses it as a tool for personal and professional development. There are certainly many benefits you can expect from joining a mentoring program because you will learn from someone who has the necessary experience to coach you on what you have to do. Some of the benefits of mentoring include: * Becoming a standout * Leadership abilities * Working smarter, not harder These benefits may sound simple, but when you translate it in real life, you can definitely feel that mentoring is one of the best options to succeed in your career. Mentoring is actually a two-way relationship and both the mentor and the mentee will learn something from the mentoring program. Primarily though, mentoring programs are designed to enhance the capabilities of the mentee. At the start of any mentoring programs, both the mentor and the mentee are encouraged to clarify their goals and expectations from the program. They need to create a well-designed plan and follow a specific course of action. There are a lot of cases wherein the mentoring program far exceeded the expectations of the mentee because the program provided the following as well: * An insider's realistic perspective on his career goals and progress * Clearer understanding of his career plans * Exposure to varied experiences and perspectives * Access to powerful sources of information * Access to resources within the industry * Greater knowledge about yourself and your goals * A wider network of contacts * Identification of any lacking skill that is required for career advancement * Establishment of a foundation for a lasting professional career * Access to a support system during the critical stages of your career growth But the mentor would not be able to do everything for you; you need to help yourself as well. You need to do this by listening to the mentor's ideas and suggestions, try implementing these suggestions if you feel that these can help you in your career. It is also essential for you to listen to the feedback of others especially the opinion of the mentor during this critical time so that you can adjust to the situation accordingly. In addition, you should have set realistic expectations from what you hope to achieve from the mentoring program because it is difficult to have impossible goals and then expect the mentor to help you achieve these objectives. You likewise need to have the willingness to learn and adapt to the different situations you might be facing at work. The mentor is simply the person you should count on for advice and suggestions about the path you should take. Mentoring should not be seen as the easy way out; rather, it should be seen as a tool that will help you grow further in your career and on your personal life. And these objectives are only possible if you learn to believe in yourself and know that you are capable of doing great things in your life. Mentoring programs can help you reach this state and once you are at this point, it would be inevitable for you to enjoy the fruits of your success. As you can see, while the mentor will provide you with guidance during the mentoring program, your success is entirely up to you. Why Join a Mentoring Program? Joining a mentoring program is a very powerful tool that can help you reach your potential because of the training and empowerment it provides. Mentoring is also one of the most effective ways for you to advance in your career because your skills are developed and your performance is monitored. In short, mentoring enables you to be the person you really want to be. Two-way Relationship It is important to realize though that mentoring is a relationship between two people who trust and respect each other. Mentoring is not simply a teacher-student relationship; rather, it is a partnership that will help both the mentor and the mentee grow both personally and professionally. The mentor can aid the mentee so that he can find the right direction he should take in his career. The mentors will usually rely on their own experiences in the past and their knowledge about the industry. Because of this, mentoring can be a great way for a mentee to understand his career options and progress professionally in the future. Most of the time, having a mentor will boost the confidence and the self-assurance of a mentee because he has all the support, encouragement, and guidance he needs. But the mentors should also take note that challenging the mentee to do his best is the best thing they can do so that the mentee will know how to handle difficult situations the right way in the future. As was mentioned earlier, a mentoring program is a two-way relationship; so likewise, the mentor can also expect that he will learn a lot from teaching and guiding another person. This will develop his management and leadership skills so he will develop empathy for people who is experiencing the same struggles he did in the past. Benefits of a Mentoring Program A mentor will help a mentee believe in his or her capabilities as a person. Because of this, the self-confidence of the mentee will be improved and they will be more apt to accept more challenges in the future. The mentor would also enable the mentee to explore new ideas so that you can achieve a higher level of self-assurance in yourself and explore even greater highs of success. The mentoring program will be an opportunity for you to take a deeper look at yourself, your goals, your personality, and your life. This will enable you to know which the right path you should take in life is. Features You Should Look For Of course, it is inevitable that some mentoring programs would be better than others because of the features and objectives provided by the specific program. For example, it would be better for you to get a mentor from outside the company so that you will get an unbiased view of what you should do regardless of who your boss is. The mentoring program would not be entirely effective if your mentor knows your boss as well. Likewise, the things that are discussed during the mentorship program should always remain confidential between the mentor and the mentee. And lastly, the mentorship program should be focused on the person. The mentor should be aware of the everyday challenges that his mentee faces so that these issues can be faced accordingly and enable the mentee to succeed in his career. The Fine Art of Mentoring Mentoring doesn't have to be a complicated process or business. Once it is designed to fit a particular need, it can be a very effective and simple method to implement, something that will be easy to use once it's established. Although it consists of certain processes and procedures, mentoring is actually like fine art in that it requires creativity in design and implementation. It's also a practice that requires flexibility and adaptability and will require participants to look beyond the mere series of techniques in order to put it into practice more effectively. Why use mentoring programs In many organizations, a gap often exists between the actual needs of the individuals and the established practices. Depending on how well the organization works to fill this gap, the difference may be great or small. The role of mentoring is to close this gap and allow staff, employees, personnel or students to access resources that will allow them to improve their learnings and skills. Mentoring is also used to increase the quality of the intellectual capital of an organization, allowing employees to be trained in order to meet set standards of quality in terms of qualifications and technical skills. It is also an excellent tool for improving the standards of service in an organization. As a recruitment and retaining tool, mentoring is also effective, allowing businesses to attract quality employees by providing new ones with a means to adapt well to their new environment. The fine art of mentoring When people view mentoring, they see it as a means to transfer knowledge. However, it is so much more than that. Choosing, designing and implementing a mentoring program often requires inventive solutions in order for it to remain attractive, relevant, updated and useful. It has proven to be a very effective method in improving business processes and has become one of the highly valued issues within many organizations. Matching The main concern of mentoring is matching, something that requires patience and imagination on the part of the administrator. Having a good pairing between the mentor and the mentee is crucial to the success of the program. If the match is in place, both parties will benefit from a strong, mutually rewarding relationship. If the matching fails, either or both parties will suffer from negative learning or feel frustrated about a system that does nothing. This is why administrators who wish to implement an effective mentoring system should find creative ways to determine the matching qualifications between the mentor and his protege. Certain factors, for example, such as temperament, personal characteristics, values, philosophies or similar goals can impact the relationship. There is no set standard for matching, which makes it important that those who wish to implement the program should be able to apply a certain adaptability and imagination when determining a successful match. Keeping the mentoring system fresh A mentoring program also thrives on being up-to-date, which keeps it interesting. Implementing a mentoring program that is outdated can have disastrous results, encouraging participants to perceive it as ineffective and useless. Like art, mentoring must remain dynamic and appealing, keeping participants' interests up, which gives them more reason to use the program. Establishing a successful mentoring program Mentoring is like fine art in that it needs to remain relevant and an effective source of motivation. As such, it has to undergo improvements along the way and must be open to changes. The best way to determine the success of the mentoring program is to compare the initial goals of the system to the results. This may be done through feedback and evaluations, allowing participants to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Without a set feedback system in place, it will be difficult indeed to quantify the efficacy of mentoring within an organization and thus rate its success. Improving Student Performance through Mentoring Mentoring is an important aspect of schooling, although it is often neglected, even by educators themselves. Although many students often do well without extra assistance, they can do so through extra effort and work on their part. Many students, however, either lack the opportunity or the will to perform better. As a result, they often require mentoring in schools. Beyond academics Many experts also believe that mentoring can make a difference for students who are exposed to unreliable and even risky influences, such as those that push them to abuse drugs, become sexually active too early, experience early pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Some students may also be exposed to delinquency, truancy and even violence. With the right mentoring programs, exposure of students and other youths from these risks may be reduced or even eliminated. Implementing mentoring programs in schools Although recognized as an important part of certain academic processes, mentoring remains as one of the least understood practices in many educational institutions. If not implemented properly, it can become under-utilized, mismanaged or even turn out to be a costly yet ineffective endeavor. To ensure success in the use of mentoring programs in schools, certain considerations must be kept in mind: Proper planning The goal of mentoring is to improve student performance in schools and ensure that they are well-prepared for interaction with their social environments. It is important that an organization understands what they wish to attain through their mentoring programs by ensuring that qualitative and quantitative standards are in place. Goals and objectives of the mentoring program must also be specific and well-structured to allow those implementing it to determine if the procedures are being followed. This is important if compliance is an issue. Building the core group or staff A mentoring program within a school will be more effective if a central core of educators is on hand to design, implement and assess it. This will help ensure a well-organized program that is easy to monitor and run. Recruitment of mentors The type of mentors to be chosen for the program is indicative of its success. Mentors may be selected through volunteer programs, where other students and even members of the faculty can sign up for the task or through active recruitment wherein mentors may be sought out and asked to join. If necessary, other members of the community may also be tapped. A set of qualifications may be set in order for mentors to meet quality standards and help streamline the application process. Screening for mentors The next step in creating a mentoring program for schools is to screen the mentors for eligibility. After reviewing the applications, the core group can begin interviewing the mentor applicants to determine their fit in the program. This is especially important if there are certain activities that may require extra tasks for the mentors or the mentees. If certain activities off-campus are required, for example, students may have to involve parental permission in order to participate. Training for mentors An important part of a mentoring program is mentor training. Just because a person is qualified does not make him a perfect candidate for mentorship. He or she must be able to understand the goals of the program. He must also be informed about certain limitations and boundaries he must work in. Certain communication skills must also be checked or improved if necessary. Matching mentors with mentees As one of the final steps for implementing a program for mentoring in schools, pairing mentors with mentees can be a challenge. However, it is important that this is considered carefully. There are no set standards about pairing but most experts suggest it's best to consider personality and mentoring styles in order to create a perfect match. If a certain match proves to be bad, corrections must be implemented immediately. The Growing Need for Mentoring in Healthcare Of the many programs that have been introduced and integrated in the healthcare practice, mentoring has been one of the most misunderstood and under-utilized. This is unfortunate, considering that healthcare is a sector in many areas of business that has seen an upward growth. Without mentoring, many of the practices and important methods and procedures involved in healthcare may not be maximized at all. The need for proper mentoring in the healthcare sector According to registered nurse and author Zardoya Eagles, a mentor can help a healthcare provider prepare himself for public service. A mentor can also help someone in the advancement of his/her career. The human factor, according to Eagles, is one of the best reasons why mentoring should take on more significance in many of today's healthcare settings. The results of a well-implemented mentoring practice may be difficult to quantify but it is by no means a less important undertaking. It is an acknowledged process that helps improve the processes within an organization and actually leads staff to achieve better results for their efforts, particularly in today's knowledge-based institutions. Benefits of healthcare mentoring There are several advantages to ensuring that mentoring resources are provided in healthcare sectors. These include: - The opportunity for departments within organizations to check flaws in their practices and to improve their services significantly. - Provide a way for newbies in the industry to develop the necessary skills to work and thrive in the healthcare environment more quickly and efficiently. - Provide the means with which future leaders within the organization are spotted and developed. Mentors within the organization can also develop their own skills and become highly valued employees. - Provide a means for the organization to offer a nurturing form of practice to its staff and employees. - The opportunity to achieve compliance in the industry through the improvement of services. - Improve the management of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions. - Develop staff and employee and increase intellectual capital. Having mentoring practices in place is also an excellent recruitment tool for healthcare institutions and a way to increase positive feedback. It is also a way for institutions to share their knowledge and other important information to help other hospitals improve their own practices and services. Mentoring is also an excellent means to keep updated about the latest practices and developments in the healthcare sector. Implementing mentoring in an organization Mentoring may seem like a set of procedures that are simple to implement but it is in fact, a process that might be problematic and counter-productive if not used properly. Some of the most important considerations when implementing mentoring for any organization include: 1) Proper understanding of the goals of the organization, its resources, facilities and manpower. 2) Proper understanding of the interests, goals, expectations and values of the staff. 3) Proper knowledge in the implementation of mentoring activities and procedures that will fit the needs of the organizations and those of the staff concerned. 4) Adequate information about the most successful techniques and methods in mentoring that will help an organization meet its goals. 5) Sufficient knowledge in matching mentors and mentees in order to take advantage of the perfect mentoring relationship. The healthcare mentoring outlook Already, the advantages of providing mentoring resources for many members of the healthcare profession have made the practice essential to many of the hospitals in the U.S. The Campaign Mentor Hospitals, for example, is a network of medical institutions small and large, urban and rural that operates throughout the country providing mentoring support in healthcare. Many of these organizations are high-achieving institutions that offer some of the most useful insights that other organizations can integrate into their practices. Today, mentoring in healthcare continues to expand, undertaken by numerous groups of hospitals throughout the country in order to provide a more effective means to care for and assist clients, develop staff knowledge and skills and improve the practice of healthcare.
Mentoring Teachers Programs -- Improved Professional Competence and Educational Reform Many schools in the US have formalized the process of mentoring novice teachers as their way of inducting the new teacher into the teaching profession. They run Mentoring Teachers Programs, which enable a newbie to adjust to the new teaching career through the assistance of a veteran teacher. In these programs, the veteran teacher, the mentor, coaches the new teacher on several areas in teaching such as how to prepare lesson plans and execute them, how to handle students of different ages and characteristics, how to teach more effectively in different kinds of settings, how to resolve classroom conflicts and the like. Benefits to the New Teacher The program leads not only to improved teaching skills but also to increased job satisfaction on the part of the new teacher. According to Evenson in his book on mentoring teachers, the new teacher benefits in three ways. First, the program allows the new teacher to easily adapt with the school environment. Aside from helping the new teacher get acquainted with the school's staff and facilities, the mentor also teaches him how to observe and cope with the school's rules and regulations. Second, the program allows the teacher to establish teaching competence. This is achieved as the mentor provides the new teacher with opportunities to observe, assess, and practice his and other teachers' teaching. The process encourages feedback from and constant communication with the mentor. Lastly, the program introduces the teacher to teaching as a continuously developing and a life-long profession. If the new teacher feels that he gets as much support as he can from colleagues and the school administration, he will likely stay in this profession and would gladly make himself available as well for future teachers who would need his assistance. Other Benefits of the Program The benefits of mentoring programs are far reaching. It is not only the new teachers that benefit from the program but all the participants in the program including the mentor, the student and the school as a whole as well. Thus, mentoring programs are seen not just as a form of assistance to the new teacher but as a vehicle for the improvement of the school's whole educational system. For the mentor, the program serves as another opportunity to share his wealth of experiences, knowledge and skills. Much of these skills and knowledge are not found in books or reference materials. They are accumulated through time through extensive training and professional practice. Without the mentoring programs, these experiences, knowledge and skills gained and acquired through time may gradually fade away. In a way, the mentor also improves himself as a teacher in the process of mentoring. He does this as he reexamines his professional experiences inside and outside the classroom and as he provides tips and guidelines to the new teacher. Moreover, the mentoring program provides him with an added source of income as mentors are usually compensated for the extra services they render. Students are directly and indirectly benefited with this kind of program as their new teachers gain more teaching skills and knowledge, which are imparted to them. Ultimately, the students learn more things and enjoy their classes more when the teacher is prepared and well versed with the topics he or she is discussing. A research conducted by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory to study the mentoring programs in Texas reveals that many districts see mentoring teachers programs also as a vital retention strategy. The study recognizes that the attrition of new teachers is among the cause of shortages of teachers in some schools. The Proper Way of Mentoring Special Educators There's a shortage of special educators these days. Special education teachers are badly needed by almost all of school districts today. They are wanted in 98% of all the educational institutions of the U.S. And over the next years, more than a million new special educators are required. Special educators leave their jobs a lot faster than regular teachers. This is because of the tasks that are placed on their backs. Special educators are tasked to manage IEPs, give alternative assessments, become paraprofessionals, use assisting technologies, comply with complex legislation, and write all the paperwork. All of these they have to do, on top of the emotional and physical toll of doing individualized instruction. The effective way of mentoring special educators play a special role in their development and preservation. To mentor special education teachers, the following should be done: 1. Effective identification, recruitment, and selection of mentors. There may be a handful of special education teachers. But only a few of them are really up to the task. Before training a teacher to be special education teachers, they have to be psychologically, physically, and emotionally up to the task. 2. Provide adequate action planning With the many tasks facing a special educator face, mentors should take part in the action planning process in everyway they can. Mentors should be always available for the teacher could confer with them. Mentors should take part of the special educator's task every time they can. 3. Continuous evaluation The evaluation of special educators should be continuous. The regular evaluation of special education teacher is going to be helpful in determining whether or not the skills and abilities of the teachers are up to the present challenges of their job. Should teachers fall short, they can easily update their knowledge through retraining. 4. Address diminishing support Diminishing support for special educators is real. Expect this to happen even if you have tried hard to provide the support special educators need. Whenever the support of your team to special teachers is failing, address it with a special meeting to solve the immediate problems the teacher encounter at hand. 5. Check instances of isolation and burnout The psychological and emotional toll of teaching special education is high. Teachers get drained out most easily if they feel isolation from their peers and experience burnout with their work. Try to check the level of isolation and burnout teachers have. Solve it by offering out of town team building activities, regular brainstorming and interaction with colleagues. 6. Conduct regular counseling with teachers Teachers should be subjected to regular counseling sessions, whether they need it or not. This would help teachers a lot, because they could share their stories, experiences, frustrations, and successes with a person that could really help. Regular sessions would help teachers with their day-to-day activities. 7. Facilitate workshops and trainings Special educators need to update their knowledge through trainings and workshops. These activities are very important because it allows them to learn more techniques that could help them a lot in their daily jobs. Make sure that the workshops and trainings made for teachers are as lively and as fun as it should. These are the things can do to properly mentor special education teachers so that they won't give up their jobs easily. These professionals are very important in the society. Their roles are indispensable so they have to be given the proper attention they need. Effective Mentoring Relationships The Mentor-Mentee Relationship The role of a mentor is to aid the mentee in reaching his goals. While the mentor can certainly learn a lot from teaching and leading others, the relationship between the mentor and the mentee should be mentee-centered. So the mentor should listen, guide, and even challenge the mentee to do his best in his job. The mentorship program requires frequent contact between the mentor and the mentee for the communication line to remain open. Mentoring is an interactive relationship wherein both parties can contribute to each other's grow as a person. You should take note that mentoring is far different from counseling and neither is it being buddies because mentoring is a tool that is used for personal and professional development. Formal and Informal Mentoring Anyone can be a mentor or a mentee without joining any mentoring program. For example, just riding a bus and then conversing with a stranger can be a form of mentoring if you learn something important from him; this type of mentoring is known as informal mentoring. Informal mentoring usually just occurs even if you don't plan it, this can be just as important as a formal mentoring program. On the other hand, formal mentoring is having an acknowledged relationship between the mentor and the mentee. Formal mentoring would require the commitment of time and effort between the two parties so that they can share and learn from each other. This type of mentoring program can be for a specific project or for a specified time period. Finding a Mentor Having the wrong mentor can be even worse than having no mentor at all. For this reason, everyone should take the time and effort to look for a mentor that will suit their needs, personality, and learning style. You need to look within yourself and the environment around you; then, ask yourself what you really want to learn. Oftentimes, you need to consider the following questions before deciding on a mentor: * Would the mentor provide me with good and accurate information? * Would he support me in reaching my goals and objectives? * Would he respect my dreams, my decisions, and my goal in life? * Would he challenge me when it is necessary? * Can the mentor actually be trusted? * Am I willing to listen to this mentor's ideas and suggestions? Asking these questions before you commit to a mentoring program is essential for you to reap the best possible benefit. It is also important to have a clear communication line between you and the mentor. Even at the start of the mentoring program, you already need to specify your expectations and your goal so that the mentor will know which direction to take. Ending the Mentoring Program However, all good things must come to an end. You cannot continue with the mentoring program forever; sure, you can still communicate with your mentor from time to time but being in a commitment to be each other's mentor and mentee can become more like a burden rather than a privilege after the mentoring program ends. Both parties should acknowledge what they have learned and thank each other for the time and effort that the person has spent for another's well-being. Even after the mentoring program ends though, the mentor can still support the mentee and be there for the mentee when he is needed. Learnings from Mentoring Quotes "Mentoring", this Greek term has been used in countless ways so you can expect that there are various wise mentoring quotes that abound. But it all refers to the same concept, giving guidance and advice to another person. The term "mentoring" actually comes from the Greek word that means enduring. This is a committed relationship between a youth and an adult wherein the adult has the patience to teach the youth whatever he knows from life. It is the adult's responsibility to provide support, assistance, and guidance as the younger one faces new challenges and problems everyday. Mentors usually take the role of the parents when the parent is busy or unavailable during the critical stages of a person's life. There are basically two types of mentoring; the first is natural mentoring and the second is planned mentoring. Natural mentoring can come from everyday situations wherein anyone can be your mentor. You can learn through collegiality, through friendship, through teaching, or through counseling. On the other hand, planned mentoring comes from a structured program wherein the mentor and the mentee are chosen from a list and matched through a formal procedure. Currently, mentoring is becoming increasingly popular in the workforce as well as for personal development. This is partly due to various testimonials among people who have tried it and derived a lot of advantages from the mentoring program. But how does mentoring exactly work? Well, if you wan to look into the formal mentoring programs, you should be aware that your mentor will be chosen by an authority figure through interviews, comparative index outlook, and by looking at their personal profiles. Of course, in most cases, the mentor and the mentee would need to get acquainted first before the mentoring program can start. Mentors are needed because they can be a positive influence on the mentee who is learning from them. As Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Mentors can be a force of change and they can influence a lot of people, including you, by becoming a respected authority figure. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that, "You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." And indeed, mentors are doing kindness when they take on the responsibility of helping other people learn from their experiences. Through this, they can give back to society and make career growth, personal development, or intellectual achievement possible for the person they are mentoring. As you can observe, mentoring is helpful for educational purposes wherein the mentor will help the mentee improve their overall academic achievement. Likewise, mentoring is also very helpful in the workplace because mentors can provide the necessary insights and perspectives on what a person should do to achieve his goals. Meanwhile, having a mentor would also be a very helpful option in your personal development because the mentor can help you during tough personal and social stress and offer guidance just when you need it the most. A very nice quote from an unknown author read, "A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could." The mentor does just that, they believe that their mentees can do it. This, in itself, is usually encouragement enough for the mentee to do their best to succeed in life. What to Avoid in Mentoring Programs What is mentoring? Before we can effectively look at the benefits you can derive from mentoring programs, it is first essential to understand what mentoring really is. Mentoring is simply the process wherein people are helped by a person or an organization for their personal and professional development. The person who is doing the supporting role is called the "mentor" while the person being supported is called the "mentee". This relationship may sometimes because complex because there are many types of mentors, just as there is many types of people. You can expect the mentor to be somewhere between being a "trusted friend" and a "counselor". But how exactly, can a mentor be defined? Well, we came up with several categories; your mentor will most likely fall into one of these categories. Read on to know what kind of mentor you should choose and which ones you should avoid: 1. The crowding mentor This is the type of mentor who seems to be ignorant of the term, "personal space". This mentor may not necessarily be your choice but he or she was assigned to you by your organization. 2. The impossible mentor Meanwhile, the impossible mentor is simply someone who you are not comfortable being with no matter what you do or what the mentor does. 3. The younger mentor In some cases, you might encounter a mentor who is younger than you. You might be more experienced than he is on work-related matters but this mentor was assigned to help you nonetheless. You find it difficult to take such a young mentor seriously though. 4. The ardent researcher Your mentor would be someone who puts a big emphasis on academic research and theories. While this characteristic may not be a fault in itself, you might discover that it is hard to schedule important meetings with this mentor because he always outs research as his priority. In addition, this type of mentor might not believe that teaching the mentee is important so you are low in his priority. What does a mentor actually do? So after you know the type of mentors you should avoid, it is time to take a deeper look at what a good mentor should actually do: * Be available for a chat over the telephone or face-to-face contact * Be optimistic about the mentoring program and the development process of the mentees * Help mentees feel good about their achievements * Help mentees stick to deadlines and schedules * Know someone who can aid their mentees when there are cases that they can't * Aid the mentees in their work plan. For example, they should help the mentees write realistic goals, deadlines, and the strategy on how these can be achieved. * Give feedback on the work. They should give their opinions about the mentee's performance so that the mentee will know which areas they should improve on. * Help the mentees look at the feedback of other people. The mentees should take a serious look at the opinions of other people so they can determine their weaknesses. * Make learning possible for the mentees. The mentors should provide the necessary resources such as time, effort, and space so that their mentees can learn even during their day-to-day work. * Motivate their mentees. The simply act of asking how a person is doing is an act of asking how a person is doing can be motivation for them to improve their performance. Preparing a Proposal for a Teacher Mentoring Program An established teacher mentoring program is an important asset for any educational institution. It helps develop talent, maintain a school's quality standards, ensure its compliance to state or even national benchmarks and provide high quality standards of teaching for students. It's also a way to help improve the quality of teacher personnel and assist new teachers in getting assimilated into the environment. This is why preparing a proposal for a teacher mentoring program should be a careful and well thought-of process, something that must be carefully deliberated and designed in order to produce a plan that will be a perfect fit for the institution. There are several important steps and considerations to keep in mind when designing a proposal for a teacher mentoring program. These include: Establishing the goals and purposes of the school Before writing a proposal for a mentorship program, it is important that the goals and purposes of the school is understood and considered. Ultimately, this is the benchmark upon which the efficacy of the program will be assessed. Determine what the organization wishes to achieve through the mentorship program and how the program will fit the image, values and philosophies set by the school. Determining the needs of the organization In every organization, there are areas where it can show strengths and weaknesses. If the goal of the organization is to close the gap between its weaknesses and the current standards, it will be a lot easier to establish what the organization needs and design a more effective and successful teacher mentoring program. A mentoring program also has to fit the specific requirements of the participants. Elementary level teachers, for example, may have different needs than high school level or collegiate level teachers. Assessing the available resources for mentorship The next step to preparing a proposal for a mentoring program is to find out what kind of resources the school has that may be used with the program. Staff specialization, number of teachers or personnel that can assist or participate in the program, materials, funding and even external resources that may have to be tapped should be considered. For many organizations, including schools, the use of resources can be a touchy subject, particularly if it involves budget. Establishing the cost and type of requirements that may be involved in a mentoring program initially will help school administrators to decide whether or not the program is feasible. Establishing the responsibility and accountability of the program It is important to establish which department will be responsible for the implementation and assessment of the program. This department will ensure that correct practices are enforced and that certain standards are met. If necessary, creating an audit team might also be considered. Establishing the benefits and creating quality perimeters The benefits of the program should be enumerated in order to show the administrators that it is necessary and useful to the school. The proposal should also include the standards for checking the validity, relevance and efficacy of the mentoring program. These standards should be quantifiable to allow for easy measurement and evaluation. Preparing the proposal The proposal is a formal presentation of the mentorship program and as such, should follow certain guidelines. The proposal must be well-written and informative, establishing the facts about the program immediately. This will allow the administrators to see whether or not the program will be useful for the school. The success of the proposal and ultimately, the teacher mentoring program will depend on how well it is designed and accepted by school administrators. Peer Mentoring -- Helping the Teens Beat Pressures of Adolescence Teenagers are facing the most critical stage in their life -- adolescence. At this stage, they experience the transition from childhood towards adulthood; in the process of transition, teens deal with lots of biological, emotional, social and psychological changes. Often, these changes make a life of a teenager miserable. There is a great desire to fit in, to be accepted for who they are, to find their true identity, and to realize their own strengths and weaknesses. This is where peer mentoring becomes a lot of help. It keeps the youth guided and makes them feel loved, cared for and accepted. Features and of a Peer Mentoring Program Peer mentoring is a kind of mentoring program, which matches older youths with younger ones. The former provide the latter with guidance, advice, and all forms of support they need to be able to meet challenges of adolescent life. The older youths do not only serve as mentors but as role models to the younger ones. They are not perfect but having been through the same stage and most likely, the same problems, predicaments, and challenges in their homes, school and community; they are in the position to provide friendly advice, positive influences, attention, and moral support to these younger teens. Mentoring programs, either in schools, local communities, and youth organizations bear the following characteristics: * Centered on the needs of the youth -- Every peer mentoring program is designed to meet the specific needs of the teens to be mentored. Those who come from broken homes, for example, may need more time for counseling and recreation activities that would help them divert their thoughts on sad experiences at home towards happy ones. Those with academic problems may require more time for tutorials. * Participants voluntarily join a peer mentoring program -- A big part of the success of peer mentoring lies on the voluntary participation of the mentor and the younger teens. The student must not be forced to attend the peer mentoring program as this would only make things more difficult for him. The student must first acknowledge the need to have a mentor, someone who is older, wider, and more experienced than him. Only upon acknowledging this need can he actively participate in the activities in the mentoring program. * Mentors are bound by the responsibility to keep things confidential -- Trust is very important in building good relationship between the mentor and the student; thus, it is a must or the mentor to keep things that he and the student talks about confidential. Without trust, it would be hard for the person mentored to talk about the things he feels and thinks especially about very critical issues involving him, a close friend or his family. Joining a Mentoring Program Joining a peer mentoring program starts with the eagerness to be a part of a support group or program that is aimed at creating changes both on the life of the mentor and the younger person to be mentored. If you want to be a mentor, first you must be prepared in all aspects. Do you have a plan on how to conduct peer mentoring? Do you know what to do when trying situations arise? Do you have the patience necessary for you to deal with persons who might be going through tough moments in their life? How would you handle issues such as early pregnancy, divorce, and drug addiction? When you are ready, the next thing you should do is to look for a pee mentoring program that is suited to your interests. You can look for these in your school, local community and even online. You may also ask for your teachers, schoolmates, and friends' recommendations. You can also ask the head of your local community church or youth organizations in your community or neighboring areas. Tips on Successful Implementation of Mentoring Mentoring, training and coaching programs for novice teachers are excellent ways to improve the quality of skills and knowledge of a new teacher, his job satisfaction, and his professional competence. These programs available for the new teacher are also effective means of enhancing the student's abilities and the mentor's skills as well. In many US schools, these mentoring programs are mandatory to ensure that the new teacher is fully capable of handing the classes. In some schools, mentoring programs are instituted not only to prepare the new teacher for the job but also as a way of addressing the problem of teacher shortage. A recent news published on Contra Costa Times reveals that almost 25% of new teachers in California leave their job in their first four years of teaching because of lack of support from the administration and fellow teachers. Also, the mentoring program adds bureaucratic burden both for the novice teachers and their mentors. Apart from the additional responsibilities that are given to the teachers, there's a lot of paperwork that needs to be accomplished. This includes preparing lesson plans, evaluations, and progress and accomplishment reports. In order to ensure that mentoring programs are successfully implemented, here are some tips and pointers to remember: * Eliminate unnecessary paperwork and requirements -- this has been recommended by UC Riverside researchers after finding out that a lot of mentors and new teachers engaged in the program are complaining about the repetitive tasks and extra paperwork they need to accomplish. Aside from the fact that neophyte teachers are already overwhelmed by their new responsibilities, they are still burdened with lots of paperwork including preparing lesson plans, which usually consumes so much of their time. It is recommended that programs should focus on mentoring itself. The new and veteran teachers may engage in less taxing activities that would allow them to interact and share knowledge, skills and experiences freely. * New teachers must be matched with the right mentors -- It is important for the new teacher and the mentor to interact without any inhibition. To be able to achieve this, the administrators must strive to match news teachers with mentors who share with them same qualities and interests. This would allow the new teacher to freely ask questions and ask for tips and advices from the mentor. * Have separate evaluators -- In order for the mentor and the new teacher to focus on their main tasks, they must be relieved from doing additional tasks such as evaluation of the program. A separate evaluator who shall meet the veteran and the new teachers to discuss the progress of the mentoring program may be assigned. * Conduct regular assessment of the whole mentoring program -- Campus-level administrators should not only evaluate progress of the newly hired teachers but as well as the whole mentoring, training and coaching program of the school, which includes the mentors capability to coach neophyte teachers, the process of mentoring, the students' progress vis-à-vis to the new teachers' progress during the program, and other forms of support and assistance given to the new teacher. It is also important to determine the thoughts or opinions of other teachers about the program and its impact on their desire to stay or leave the school or the teaching profession. These things are vital to the implementation and improvement not only of the mentoring programs of the particular school but of others as well. Best Practices in Mentoring What is mentoring? Mentoring pertains to the development of rapport involving a more knowledgeable mentor and a less knowledgeable protege or mentee. A protege or a mentee is a person who is guided, supported and protected from an experienced mentor. A mentor is the one who boosts the career of a protege or a mentee. What is best practice? Best practice is an organizational idea which states that there is a standard activity, process, method, technique, reward or incentive that is more effectual in accomplishing a specific result. The idea is that a desired result is delivered with few or no unexpected complications and/or problems. Best practices is also described as one of the most effective and efficient way in carrying out a task, based on tried and tested procedures. Therefore, best practices in mentoring involve the development of an equally beneficial correlation that improves the proficient intelligence of the mentor and the protege or the mentee. A good mentor usually projects expertness, candidness, affability, and communication skills. Enthusiastic proteges or mentees have a tendency to express desire for knowledge, utmost discipline and self-respect. A Good Mentor A good mentor is a mentor who (is): * Listens well and treats the conversation with the mentee as confidential. * Determines what is important to a mentee and explore their ambitions, propensities and skills. * Knows the importance of the learning process by creating a candid and open relationship to promote confidence and trust. * Accepts the fact that in some cases a mentee may need to seek other sources of assistance and help. * Appropriately trained and has vast knowledge in mentoring. * Should have a professional approach in mentor-mentee relationship. * Refrain from mentoring those who are directly reporting to them, no matter how professional the relationship is, this will avoid other colleagues to think that the mentor may influence some matters pertaining to the issues concerning the mentee's decision and position. A Good Mentee A good mentee is a mentee who (is): * Very enthusiastic to be taught and trained and is liberated to new ideas or concepts. * A team-player who can interact well with other people. * A risk taker who is not afraid to go beyond the boundaries of safety and venture into uncertainties to learn. * Patient enough to realize that an ambition in life cannot be acquired overnight. * A positive attitude, even in the midst of a crisis. * Demonstrates inventiveness and resourcefulness in any task assigned. * Accepts feedback, negative or positive, about behavior and skills, with an intention to improve and learn from it. When is a Mentor-Mentee Relationship Good? A good mentor-mentee relationship is not just gauged by the personality of each that they bring into the relationship, more significantly, the occurrence of proper interaction and behavior is needed all throughout the process. What the mentor accomplishes with the mentee, and how eager the mentee responds and receives it, is what matters most in such a relationship. A good mentor-mentee relationship cultivates and successfully carries out the following: * Career Roles: 1. A mentor that introduces new opportunities to the mentee, which the latter believes in. 2. A mentor that coaches and sponsors a mentee, which the latter gratefully accepts. 3. A mentor that protects and challenges a mentee, which the latter understands as part of the relationship. * Psychological Roles: 1. A mentor who is a role-model, which the mentee looks up to. 2. A mentor who counsels, which the mentee receives wholeheartedly. 3. A mentor who befriend a mentee, but is still focus enough to achieve the goals of the relationship. 4. A mentor and a mentee who accept and confirm each others ideas. Within this representation, a mentor serves as a leader, a teacher that encourages thinking abilities, an advocate of realistic principles, an overseer, and an analyst. A mentee on the other hand is a student who is willing to be taught and is ready to embark on a journey towards an absolute learning experience. Mentoring Nurses as a way of Empowerment Mentoring provides an opportunity for a nurse to develop their careers and an opportunity to aim for leadership positions. A mentor should be able to train and guide a newbie nurse to better understand the importance of his or her profession. Mentors should be able to give support, reinforcement to motivate and to increase the job satisfaction rate of a mentee-nurse. Mentoring is a helpful method in the recruitment and retaining staff members in a medical institution for the citizen of the community. Mentoring is: * A relationship that is professional and based on free will. * A relationship that has communal respect and goals. * A relationship that is beneficial to individuals involved. The two types of mentoring are: * Formal: a peer kind of mentor-mentee relationship. * Informal: mentor-mentee relationship that is structured and created at a general practice. Mentoring relationships needs: * Trust * Respect * Commitment * Confidentiality * Accessibility * Flexibility The crucial facets of a mentoring relationship are: * Objectives and goals. * Shared networks and resources. * Time and process for evaluation. Mentors may assists mentees by: * Making new nurses understand their role in general practice. * Making new or veteran nurses manage in the ever changing role in nursing practice. * Making new or veteran nurses manage practice settings with issues that are new and existing. * Making new or veteran nurses manage professional practice that deal with personal needs. The benefits and advantages of being a mentee is: * To understand how the general practice functions. * To build up interpersonal skills. * To receive encouragement, support and feedback. * To acquire know-how about practice nurse roles. * To have a chance to expand networks and lessen isolation in the profession. * To get help in clarifying career pathways and goals. The benefits and advantage of being a mentor is: * To take part in the chance to contribute one's experience and wisdom. * To build up interpersonal skills. * To achieve a feeling of self worth and satisfaction. * To achieve further know-how in a new role. * To achieve recognition and acknowledgement among colleagues for the contribution to the general practice as mentor. * To have a chance to expand networks and lessen isolation in the profession. The benefits and advantages of mentoring nurses in the general practice is that: * Through mentoring nurses are becoming more productive and motivated. * Through mentoring the general practice have the upper-hand in catching the attention of prospective staff members. * Through mentoring staff members improved their teamwork and communication skills. * Through mentoring participating staff members are gaining positive commitment. What not to anticipate of mentoring in the general practice: * Mentoring is in NO way a substitute to meet education needs. * Mentoring is in NO way a universal remedy for all concerns, issues and problems. * Mentoring is in NO way a substitute for a professional educator. In general practice a mentor is not: * An advocate. * A tutor. * An educator. Thus mentors should not be expected to know all the answers to all questions and queries. On the other hand, mentors should be able to give guidance and assistance to significant matters that may need relevant information and sources. Basically, mentors are only there to guide mentees in the search for learning experiences that are not taught in the four corners of a classroom. The Importance of Mentoring for Children of Prisoners It is estimated that there is approximately 2 million youths in the United States that have an incarcerated parent. It is also estimated that there are over 7 million children with one parent who is under the supervision of the Federal or state correctional authorities. The figures indicate that there are nearly 200 children out of every 1,000 who are in dire need of guidance and mentoring from relatives, concerned parties or the government. Any mentoring organization in private or government practice has a high likelihood of encountering at least one of these children, making it extremely essential that the needs of children of prisoners must be considered and integrated into specific mentoring practices. Children with special needs Children of prisoners undergo plenty of physical and emotional challenges that other children who live in normal households won't. Some of these challenges include: - Having to cope with being separated from that parent for long periods of time, with some children having to deal with repeated incarcerations of his or her parent/s. - Having to deal with infrequent visitations or the experience of going through procedures in prisons just to visit the parent. - Having to deal with social stigma that usually accompanies children with parents who are incarcerated such as teasing, name-calling, guilt, etc. - Having to live in conditions or environments that are unstable, unreliable and often less than ideal. The problems of allowing children of prisoners to cope without any extra help often increase depending on certain factors, such as: - the age of the child - the presence of another parent or authority figure - the quality of time spent by the child in the care and guidance of this parent or authority figure - the economic status of the child's family Without the availability of an effective mentoring program for children of prisoners, there is a high risk that they will develop problems both personal and social, such as: - using and abusing drugs and alcohol at a young age - irregular attendance in school - developing problems with their peers - finding outlet in destructive behavior or developing relationships with questionable individuals or groups Using mentoring programs for children of prisoners To help improve this group of children's chances at experiencing success in school and in their social interactions, certain mentoring programs are being made available in both private and government organizations, such as those funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the mentoring resources that children of prisoners can look forward to include: 1. Access to a wide variety of educational, counseling, guidance and healthcare services that include the children, their siblings, other family members or caregivers. Many of these programs may even include the incarcerated parent/s. 2. Access to the appropriate resources that children of imprisoned parents can use, such as books, data and other information that will help them cope with the absence of either or both parents. 3. Access to mentoring and counseling services that can assure high levels of confidentiality to protect the child's identity. 4. Access to realistic and non-judgmental services from mentors and volunteers who also have the right background, training and experience to assist the children. 5. Opportunities to maximize their natural capabilities and experience new activities that will help them learn and cope in their environment. 6. Opportunities to experience leadership roles with their peers. 7. Assistance in terms of guidance and even financial services to help caregivers of children of prisoners cope with the financial burdens of running a household in the absence of one or both parents. Breaking the Ice: An Important Part of Mentoring When mentoring is mentioned, what comes into anyone's mind? It could be Socrates and Plato. Or it could be Jesus the Christ and his disciples. Whether these men used 'ice breakers' to make their students feel at ease, we would never know. But for sure, ice breaking exercises open doors for both mentor and student relationship or student to student relationship. Mentoring is doing something valuable such as leading a less experienced individual to improve aspects in his life. It could be his faith, his skills or even simple time management. But even if you are the best mentor in the whole world, you would still need to break that barrier that comes with the stranger whom you will now teach. And this is the area where ice breakers come in. An ice breaking exercise need not be an unruly game. In fact, it doesn't always come in the form of a game. Sometimes, ice breaking exercises could simply mean the mentor introducing himself to his students and encouraging them to do the same. It could also be storytelling time for everyone. The main purpose is to make the students relax and feel comfortable. An effective ice breaker is one that suits its participants. A more serious group could feel at ease with open forums or storytelling while an active group could easily relax physical activities. Ice breakers should also avoid activities that coerce communication, games that are not related to the course, games that take too long to finish, or activities that foster cultural biases. In finding the perfect activities for a mentoring session, it is also important to consider the time factor. How long will the mentoring last? Would it take a week or two? Or will it only last for two days? You should be able to suit the activities to the available time that you have. Here are some tips on making your games or discussions much more interesting: 1. Be enthusiastic. Feel the game. You should be able to explain the mechanics with much liveliness in your voice. An important part of this is to know every detail of the game. You don't want to be caught unaware that you are confused with the game yourself. 2. Experiment with a different game each time. Variety displaces boredom (which the mentor might feel once he gets familiar with the activity). 3. Bring props. Funny props create funny moments. Make fun of anything except someone from the group. 4. Encourage each member of the group to participate. Don't leave anyone out. But if someone is implying that he is still not ready to be open or active, then respect his desire. 5. The mentor should actively participate in all given activities and not watch from a corner after explaining the mechanics. 6. Make fun of situations that are outside of the circle. Be careful of sensitive topics such as politics, religion, sexual preference, etc. The most important part of mentoring is achieving the student's goal which is academic, religious or social improvement. Although ice breaking exercises are fun activities, they are still a necessary part of the mentoring program. In fact, it's so important that it's considered as the key that opens closed gates. With that in mind, participants should pay more attention and participate more on their next ice breaker.
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