Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mentoring

A few weeks ago, I started mentoring through Champaign-Urbana One to One. It's a school-based mentoring program (unlike a community based mentoring program; eg Big Brothers and Sisters), where I spend an hour a week with my student at school. So every Monday morning, I ride my bike to Urbana Middle School and meet with my 6th grade student. I'll stay with the same student year after year as well so that we can develop a long-term relationship.

I've only been to mentor for two weeks now and I absolutely love it and am so excited to go every week. With how much I miss the classroom, I knew that I was going to love it. It's a completely different experience than being a classroom teacher for a lot of reasons, primarily because I have just one student and the focus is not academic. Although we've already started reading together some, the focus is not academic; it's on having a fun, positive relationship, so we spend time outside kicking the soccer ball or playing games like foosball in the "splash room" at the middle school.

If you're in the Champaign-Urbana area, you should definitely look into CU1to1, but no matter where you are, you should consider mentoring. A commitment like an hour a week means nothing to your schedule and can meet a lot to a kid (and to you too!). My experience with Teach For America helped me realize how badly students need advocates and this is one way to play a positive role for students and for society.

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