Jenny Prichard has been an educator for more than 27 years. Always searching for ways her students can increase their personal traction in school, in academic studies and in life, she recently began a project using mentors provided by the International Telementor Program. Before she got moving on her project, she shared with us her mindset in doing so, and what she has set out to achieve for her students:
What is your vision for using mentors with this content?
Jenny: I’m using mentors in three very different subject matter and content areas because I feel it gives the students another set of experiences from adults to draw from, compare and gain knowledge. It also allows students to be exposed to a variety of backgrounds—work and personal, as well as cultures, and work environment skills, practices and rewards that they might otherwise be limited to because of geographics, demographics, cultural or community differences—or just the size of community and school.
What are your expectations regarding skill development for your students?
Jenny: My students are expected to respond in a professional manner and use the work ethics that they practice in their classroom—job workplace. Also, they are able to see that others may learn differently than they do and have different perpectives. I also give them the right to disagree with mentors suggestions in some situations but do it in an appropriate workplace manner. It gives the students a new set of “reality” skills to practice. Of course, some students become more deeply involved than others—but overall, my students have loved the experience and say it is worth their time and effort.
In your view, what do the mentors get out of this?
Jenny: Several things, depends on the content. Some get personal ideas—such as in Interior Design—or even reflection of their own skills and practices such as in Consumer Skills budgeting. I also feel it gives the mentors satisfaction of offering their time and talents to others plus a outside look at working with the IY Generation which can be helpful in their own workplace, communities, or families.