Is Mentoring for Me?

What do we mean by "tutor/mentor"?

Our tutor/mentoring programs are intended to directly support individual K-12 students in their math and science learning. We now refer to volunteers as mentors, rather than as tutors, since the latter term implies drop-in services with no continuing relationship—and relationships, we have found, are key both to the student's success and to the mentor's satisfaction.

What is the commitment?

Work with one child or teen or, occasionally, 1-3 classmates on the same subject, meeting at least once a week for at least one semester.

Will I be an effective mentor?

You need not be a "rocket scientist" to help a young person with school work. Many of them come home to an empty house every day and simply need more caring people in their lives. See how you stack up with these common "good mentor traits":
1. Genuinely enjoys children or teens
2. Desires to "put back" into the community and to help young people
3. Is reliable
4. Is a good listener and communicator
5. Takes time to talk to and work with teacher
6. Takes time to meet and talk to a parent or other family member
7. Builds child's self esteem by giving lots of praise, sharing that everyone makes mistakes, and teaching about other aspects of life
8. Recognizes that children often feel overwhelmed and need someone to say "you can make it." Many don't get much positive time with an adult.
9. Realizes that just a couple of hours a week can really make a difference to a young person.

What's in this for you?

Most mentors feel they get much more out of these relationships than they put in, as few things in life are more satisfying than making a real, positive difference in someone's life.

How do I get started?

1. Read about the sites we are currently working with on our introduction to mentoring page.
2. Pick the age group you are comfortable with and the site that is convenient for you.
3. Print out a copy of the Mentor Agreement for that site, fill it out and sign it, and return it to the Reach Out! office on north campus. While you can mail or drop off your form, you may wish to stop in and speak with our mentor coordinator and experienced volunteers there.
4. When the coordinator contacts you by e-mail with a possible student match for your schedule and subject familiarity, you directly contact that student by telephone to arrange your first meeting.
5. Take time to get acquainted. At every session, spend some time to share interests, to ask what's going on at school, and generally to build a relationship.
6. Contact or, better yet, meet your student's teacher, just so that you know one another. You can ask about homework, curriculum, and test/quiz schedules. You may find yourself advocating for your student, since you will have more personal time with him or her than most teachers get.
7. Make contact with a parent or other family member, just to help set both of you at ease. You may need to contact family members later to find out what's going on with your student—and you may want to contact them to say nice things about your student. Remember: parents rarely hear good news about their kids!

What kind of on-going support is there?

Here are some ways we may be able to help you—and we are open to your ideas!
1. Explore the resources available to help you and your student. You may want course-related information, school schedules, access to textbooks, information on study skills to share with your student, or contacts for professional help when your student is dealing with personal problems.
2. Don't forget to contact the Reach Out! mentor coordinator or the site-based coordinator if you have problems. That's why they're there! Often, just a phone call or an e-mail exchange can clear up a misunderstanding or get you through a rough spot. You are not out there completely on your own!
3. You and your student may wish to use the Career Exploration Resources available from our Coalition Home Page to read about different fields on line, to arrange tours or job shadowing, and to do some college and career planning. Having a vision of your own future certainly makes it easier to work at the preparation necessary to make that vision a reality.

Back to Math-Science Coalition Home Page