I will summarize how trained Mentor Assistants helped failing students this year at my school.
In November 2022, I launched our inaugural newsletter, highlighting our efforts to support failing students through the trained mentor assistants at my school. In the previous year, I gave training to a group of students from various grade levels. This year, we commenced our mission of assisting failing students. Following completing the first marking period, we informed the failing students and their parents about the program. Weekly after-school mentoring sessions were initiated with the participation of students whose parents agreed to participate. I carefully paired several mentees with suitable mentors, and the program proved to be a resounding success, spanning three consecutive marking periods.
The mentoring program had a broader objective beyond academic support – cultivating robust relationships among students within the school environment. As a result, mentees experienced a boost in self-confidence and gained the ability to express their ideas more openly.
This positive progress can be attributed to the mentor assistants' utilization of strengths-based positive psychological approaches that leverage the students' strengths. Alongside addressing their academic challenges during mentoring sessions, the mentees also engaged in activities such as playing chess with their peers and teachers, which fostered meaningful connections. We are optimistic that these outcomes will manifest in their academic performance and various aspects of their lives. Through this holistic approach, we aim to empower our mentees to thrive academically and personally, equipping them with the skills and resilience needed for a bright future.
The mentors in the program gained valuable experience and knowledge through their engagement with theoretical concepts in positive psychology. This exploration enhanced their self-awareness and strengthened their leadership skills and abilities.
As they supported their mentees, the mentors also generated innovative ideas and strategies that proved successful in assisting the mentees' progress. These valuable insights can be implemented in future program iterations, ensuring continuous improvement and effectiveness. The mentors' experience this year demonstrated that with proper organization, each mentor has the potential to impact multiple mentees in the upcoming years positively. This realization brought a profound sense of fulfillment to the mentors, knowing that their efforts made a meaningful difference in the lives of the students they guided.
Plans for the upcoming years
Plans for the following years involve an ambitious goal of training half of the student body in the school. By expanding the pool of mentors, we will be able to provide personalized one-on-one mentoring sessions and introduce additional potential activities. To facilitate this, two more teachers have joined the program to help train students, ensuring that we can meet the increasing demand for mentoring support. With this broader reach, we aim to create a more comprehensive and impactful program to benefit more students.
Despite this year's challenges in providing opportunities within the school setting, the mentees completed all mentoring processes successfully. Furthermore, we met with parents, fostering open communication and family engagement, and assisted and motivated mentors. This progress indicates that we are laying the foundation for a safe and supportive learning environment for a specific group of students in the school. The experiences from this year have demonstrated that this positive ripple effect will persist and grow as teachers and parents increasingly endorse and advocate for the participation of additional students and families in the mentoring sessions.
Suppose we maintain consistent effort and commitment to the program over the next two years. In that case, we firmly believe that a safe learning environment and a positive school atmosphere will be established. With the continued growth of the mentoring program, from Bloom's Taxonomy perspective, we aspire to create an inclusive space where all students can thrive and receive the support they need within a safe learning environment. By fostering a culture of mentorship and support, we hope to create a lasting impact on the entire school community. We believe every student is unique and can be more successful if we support them as needed. Strengths-based mentoring is the shortcut.
Are you prepared to collaborate across all schools and districts worldwide with the aim of constructing safe schools and a secure world?
While we may not have the power to save the world single-handedly, we can undoubtedly ignite a spark of positive change.