Learning to Mentor

By Christina Gionet

“What exactly is mentoring training?” I was thinking on the way to Everett. Is there going to be a quiz, because I haven’t studied! I had never mentored before and did not have a clue what to expect from this meeting.

Upon arriving at Everett High, I was surprised at how large the school was. I’m talking five levels!! I guess I’m a small town girl, but my town didn’t even have its own high school. I was even more surprised to find out that the school was not big enough to accommodate all of the students! Frankly, I was surprised that this school needed the Project ENGAGE! program.

We met with Linda, a mentor trainer from Mass Mentoring (http://www.massmentors.org/) and walked into the room where the mentor training was to be held to find……cookies, soda, and coffee! It was then that I knew I would like mentor training!

We talked about what mentoring is and what a mentor is and isn’t. A mentor is there to guide and motivate students, not to be an ATM, a psychologist, or a parent!  We also played games to get to know ourselves better. An interesting game was when we compared ourselves to shoes; I’m a dress shoe (if you were wondering.)

Some of the mentors are Everett High School students, and one of the most important parts of the training was that the University of Massachusetts mentors got to connect with the Everett mentors. They gave us insight about the science fair and how students feel about it; we learned that many students are overwhelmed by the thought of the fair. Since we will be helping students with their science fair projects, this information was very important to us.

At the end of the day, everyone who is mentoring in the ENGAGE Everett! program wants the mentees to walk away with a good experience. We want them to look back on their time with us and think; hey, that was fun and I learned so much about science! They don’t need to find the cure for cancer – though that would be awesome – they just need to see what science can do for them. As mentors, our job is to help them see their science potential.

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