What is a mentor? The word is ancient, and actually comes from the name of a person in Greek legends who apparently helped Odysseus. Good to know.
When I teach, I call myself a “facilitator” because I see my role in the modern classroom to help my students come to terms with the knowledge that is so readily available to them. I certainly do some “teaching” as well, but am I a mentor?
To me, a mentor is a personal, one-to-one relationship with another person. A mentor is a go-to person who can help with specific problems. As a teacher, it is hard to be a mentor because I have 150 students, and I can’t possibly mentor all of them.
As I think about it though, mentoring is the most rewarding form of teaching, and I have had several mentoring experiences along the way. As a coach more than a teacher, I see my role as a mentor. I coach my speech students and now and then I find that one student who latches onto me and we form a relationship of mentor/mentee. That word, apparently, is not proper?
I also teach Creative Writing which gives me the opportunity to mentor students who show an interest in writing.
How much more fruitful would my classroom experiences be if I could find a way to mentor every student I teach? How exhausting and draining would it be?