Mentoring in school with no children!

Hello Mentors,

If you are working in a school at the moment, you will know how difficult it is. You can't plan, you can't evaluate, you can't say how many children you will get the next day.

If you are a mentor, I wonder if you are having the same issues we are. The school I work with, like many schools in the area and no doubt the country, have children self-isolating left, right and centre. All of my regular mentees are self-isolating, not a few, ALL of them.

It is tough to mentor children when they are not in school!

I am going to give you some solutions to help you mentor through this time.

Ask teachers if there is anyone in school that needs a mentor.

I have started mentoring new children, children who would not usually get the support but would still benefit from some positive engagement. Give that child some time. Work with who you can. According to guidelines (which will probably change when this blog is published, so keep up to date), you can spend time with a child in school up to 15 minutes one to one as long as you are making sure you keep more than a metre distance from the child. Make sure you use PPE and explain why you are using it. It is helpful to the child to know the importance of PPE and that it is protecting both of you.

Use the wonders of technology.

Schools are starting to develop online learning. Some schools are even doing these live! Via Microsoft TEAMs or other video platforms. Most families (not all) have some device that connects to the internet. These include but not limited to smartphones and laptops. As long as there is an internet connection, there is no reason why one to one mentoring session can not happen online.

Phone home

If for some reason your mentee can't access the internet you can always complete a mentoring session by ringing them. These calls can be to check in with the child, ask how the home learning is going and if they need any help. A significant aspect about this is the child will know you have not forgotten them. During the lockdown, I made a few phone calls a week, which helped children complete home learning and boost their self-esteem. Parents of the children were thrilled that school was making an effort to contact their child personally.

I know that policies will need to be put in place for you to do some of these activities; however, I can't see us going back to the way things were for a long time. So I know it will be worth the extra work.

If you need any more tips or ideas of what to do in mentoring sessions online or via phone, join our mentoring community.

Thanks for reading.

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