Seven tips for becoming a good mentor

As a teacher you can also mentor a class, sometimes referred to as a teacher or study coach. What does a good mentor actually do? And how do you give meaning to the mentor hour?

  1. Put on your pink glasses

    If you're assigned a mentor class, go for it. See it as an interesting deepening of your duties. Of course, the mentor is the linchpin in guiding the group process, but you also guide the learning process, and sometimes you also talk about private matters. Put on rose-colored glasses and make sure you know the names flawlessly.

  2. Cultivate group spirit

    The first week at a new school, students are insecure and confused, including the students who act very tough. They are curious about their classmates and their mentor. The mentor hour is therefore an excellent time to cultivate a sense of community. A nice exercise for this is the game 'A guest on your own talk show', where all students may ask a question to the mentor. At the end you have looked everyone in the eye and through the questions the students ask, they reveal something about themselves. Impertinent questions such as 'how often do you do it?' parry lightly: 'I forgot to say that there are limits to what I want to say about myself. Thank you for reminding me. '

  3. Build mutual trust

    Let students present themselves through two statements. One is true, the other is not. This exercise offers space to say something personal (My mom is in a wheelchair), but it's not necessary (I can play the piano nicely). Another way of getting acquainted is with the bunch of keys. Choose the key you would like to throw away and explain why. That is guaranteed to produce a good story. You can also let students walk through the building blindfolded. They must then rely on directions from fellow students.

  4. Be a mentor to all students

    Make sure that your attention is not only focused on problem children, because students who are not clearly asking for attention also need to be seen. Make room for personal contact through a separate introduction to all students. Talking about cows and calves is then a great start. Also show that you really see your student. Take a moment to respond to a current issue if you meet someone in the hallway. How did that test go that you were nervous about? Is your father back from the hospital?

  5. Increase their self-reliance

    Make the students responsible for their own problems, because a mentor is not a relay point for complaints. Do they argue with a classmate or do they find the tests for a subject much too difficult? Don't be a savior and leave problems with the rightful owner. Ask what they have already done about the problem themselves. Help your students solve their own problems themselves. If you set yourself up as a savior, more and more people will come who want to be saved.

  6. Make parents allies

    Connect with home as parents are your most important allies. Initiate a conversation at a neutral time. With that you lay a foundation for contact if something is wrong. Don't fall into the trap of 'the better parent'. Maybe you think that always tired-looking student should just go to bed earlier, but it's not for you to step into that parenting role. Rather invite the parents: 'Your son is tired at school. What can we do about it? '

  7. Hand over control

    As a teacher you are used to taking the initiative, but in the mentor class you can step out of that role. You can even outsource the group process from time to time. Sit among the students instead of at the head. Does something need to be decided? Have them call a meeting themselves and choose a chairman. Or give the group the responsibility to arrange an outing.

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