Teacher-Mentor Challenges

Key Challenges facing Teacher-Mentors of Generation Y and Z Students

Teacher-Mentors who set out to move alongside their students and encourage them to develop, take responsibility for their actions, own their own goals etc., are likely to be more successful than those who set out to “save” or “fix” their students with a more prescriptive approach. Some of the key challenges facing the Teacher-Mentor¬† working with Generation Y and Generation Z studentswould include:

  • Listening to young people
  • Being youth-driven
  • Building relationships
  • Respecting boundaries
  • Being sensitive to differences
  • Focusing on the young person
  • Providing support, encouragement and challenge (academic, music, sports, art, community service, cultural etc.)
  • Being realistic
  • Giving quality time
  • Offering guidance

Teacher-Mentors also need time to get together:

  • To provide each other with emotional support
  • To share experiences
  • To develop solutions to common difficulties
  • Generation Y Teachers will be keen to work with Baby Boomers, teachers with considerably more knowledge and experience, while the Baby Boomers could tap into the technological and creative thinking of these younger teachers who are keen to have structure in their lives at school
  • For ongoing training – key Teacher-Mentoring skills, listening to experts on youth and community issues etc.

EXPECTATIONS OF A TEACHER-MENTOR OF GENERATION Y AND GENERATION Z STUDENTS Students would value Teacher-Mentors who will meet some of their expectations, which might include:

  • A wise, trusted and dependable friend who can still be an authority figure
  • Focuses on the needs of the student
  • Teaches students how to express themselves assertively in emotional situations rather than aggressively or passively
  • Encourages a caring and supportive non-judgmental relationship
  • Seeks to empower students with key life skills, which students learn from role model Teacher-Mentors
  • Teaches students to be responsible for their behaviour choices
  • Encourages and inspires students to develop their personal vision for the future
  • Assists with the setting and attaining of realistic, achievable and measurable goals
  • Aims to see ongoing improvement in the student’s daily environment (academic, cultural activities, sport, community involvement)
  • Teaches students how to handle mistakes responsibly
  • Assists students to improve their self-worth, pride and confidence levels
  • Encourages students to identify with the local and wider community, appreciating the importance of being of service to others
  • Teaches students to be proactive, carefully weighing up consequences before taking action
  • Wherever possible works with the students’ parents/caregivers to provide support, friendship, encouragement, reinforcement, constructive and honest feedback, as well as wise counsel to the student
  • Offers suggestions, insight and advice, allowing students to make personal decisions and choices
  • Stands up for the student when this is needed e.g. writing a job reference, supporting an application for entry to an education institution, agreeing to be a Referee on a student’s Resume¬†etc.