My mentoring session kicked off on Monday evening after attending the mentoring training the previous week. It was quite interesting being back in a school full of lively and energetic teens. Arriving straight off a busy Black Wall Tunnel I let go of all that traffic craziness when I was introduced to my mentee who offered his little hand for me to shake. The hour was spent with us trying to get through a piece of work on the role of Language and how language evolves whilst also trying to get my mentee to concentrate on the work. He reminded me of my nephew whose energy levels could match that of the Duracell bunny.
The end of the session saw my mentee test me on 3 new slangs that he taught me at the start of the session. So the next time you hear me say “Shuubz this weekend?!” I am simply asking if its party time this weekend. The great thing about the session was just being able to help out with the little things like spelling or starting sentences with Capitals. It was a good session so I hope that I will be able to attend more sessions if the work schedule allows it.
The funny thing about life is that you don’t stop needing a mentor just because you are declared an adult when you reach 18 (or 21 in some parts of the globe). This also came up in a recent discussion at work. Sometimes we don’t even realise we have one. You may have that person that is always encouraging, provides guidance and is supportive of your goals whether work related or personal goals you have set yourself.
A mentor is just that; a person that shares knowledge, gives you feedback and someone you can learn from. I am also toying with the idea of getting mentor for work related goals; someone who can provide a different perspective on things I could work on in terms of focusing my energy on particular route of technology expertise. So how does one choose a mentor or approach a potential mentor? This is a question I presented to the panel on the Live Q&A on the Guardian website. The clear message was that you have to be clear on the type of advice/feedback you are hoping to receive and how often you hope to interact (one a quarter, every month, ad-hoc, etc…). “Also remembering that many people are happy to be mentors but are also very busy people”, so defining what you want to accomplish is a good place to start. Check out the Guardian website for more details on the response from the panel. The response to my question is the ninth response by ‘JohnSaltsTotalJobs’ as well as a few other tips on keeping your new year’s resolutions alive.
Coming back to volunteering; there are plenty of kids out there who could use a mentor or role model. You don’t have to be some famous mega star to inspire someone. You just need to be willing to make a difference, be positive, motivated, and enthusiastic with a dash of patience.
I am currently volunteering with the ReachOut! Academy but there are many other organisations you can volunteer with for mentoring sessions. Links are below if you have an hour or two spare in the week. My post also coincides with the mentoring month in the USA which runs throughout January. Search twitter via the hash tag '#Mentoring'.
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