Not being present at last weeks session meant I had a feeling today was going to be a little odd to start off with and would need my attention in order to catch up with my peers before meeting our mentees at midday till 1…..a whole hour session!!!
Sandra gave us a great peer mentoring session drawing on some keys factors on how to be a good mentor which really helped me….some qualities a mentor should have… The list is a big one! So here’s just a few..
- Be enthusiastic, motivating and encouraging.
- Be open with your mentees.
- Empathetic towards their fears and anxieties.
- Listen well.
- Be respectful.
- Be organised
My main focus is to build trust between me and my mentees!! To focus on the mentee!! To guide and support my mentees!!
During this session Sandra asked us to participate in an activity which involved pairing up and sitting back to back, then to tell your partner what journey you took into university today, in turn. I had to wait till my partner had finished before I could begin to tell her about my journey.Which sounds easy …right !?! Me and my partner hit a few complications…. I couldn’t hear everything she said so I had to fill gaps myself, which can alter a story. This meant I wanted to turn around to see my partners lips and have eye contact with her to fully understand what she is saying to me. But I couldn’t do that. So I had to listen really hard to hear her every word. This challenged me as there were many pairs of students all participating in the same activity. In a small room. We only had a few minutes to complete this task before we had to share the differences we noticed within each others journey. Most of us began with ‘I couldn’t hear her/him properly’ which took our focus away from what we were being told, what we were trying so hard to hear.
This was a great listening exercise as not only do we listen with our ears we also use our eyes and our body’s to listen well to others. Eye contact and body language is just as important as speech.
We moved on to some do’s and don’ts involved in mentoring. We got in to pairs again and wrote a do list and a don’t list, then discussed the most important one from each list. We all had similar do’s and don’ts lists, being positive, always listen, be patient and helpful, build trust were part of the do’s list. Don’ts list consisted of not judging, being late, rude nor aggressive, give false information and becoming too attached to mention a few. Which helped me understand my limits within mentoring. Thank goodness as 12 o’clock was creeping up fast.
After being put in to mentor groups, given vital information and our list of mentees we were introduced to the room we would meet our mentees in for the first time. My peers and I had a quick discussion on how we intend on introducing ourselves and what we wanted to achieve from this session with our mentees. We wanted to take a more relaxed approach to help relax our mentees, fortunately we were given a small room instead of a computer room, we were then able to adjust the seating arrangement to sitting in a circle for all to see and all to hear as we planned to play an introducing game..an ice-breaker.
Before we began the ice-breaker each mentor briefly introduced themselves. We then moved on to explain and demonstrate how to play our game….say your name and something, anything about yourself then the person next to you has to repeat what was just said and then add their information and so on. Thanks to the session we had earlier that morning about eye contact and body language, do’s and don’ts I realised most of the mentees were standing up outside the circle …which seemed a little similar to standing at the front of the classroom bellowing orders. So a few of us took seats in-between our mentees. Which also allowed us to join in with the our mentees and the game and not just demonstrate then stand back and watch …we got involved. I did pretty well this time and got the information correct, as when we played a similar game before back at class I didn’t do very well. Everyone seemed to enjoy this. This was our take on a listening activity and an informal way to get to know our mentees and what they want out of us as their mentors. The game went down a storm and helped both mentees and mentors relax which helped us all smoothly move on from the game to sharing worries, anxieties, wants and desires within university life, academic writing and reading, assignments…..which books to buy. We had lots of questions. I had the responsibility of keeping time and was surprised we had all been getting to know each other for close to an hour and no one looked bored uncomfortable or like they wanted to jump out of their chair and run a mile never to return. I flagged this with my peers and we wrapped up!!
. In reflection of today’s session I feel proud of our mentees and think we as mentors did well for our first session. I feel we as mentors must be more organised with activities appropriate to our mentees vital needs in their first year as worry had a hold of most of the year ones. Which I can relate to. One to one interaction may seem like we are not working as a group should but I feel most of the mentees I spoke with prefer and were more comfortable speaking about worries and wants in a more intimate way, in this case I am able to note down these worries and wants and bring them up at our next session.
Our mentees did fantastic!!!
I remember my first week at university and how frightened I was to talk in a group…these guys nailed it!!
I am incredibly excited to meet with my mentees again next week and can’t wait to see how they are all getting on.