What Makes a Great Mentor?

What Makes a Great Mentor?
Posted on 01/26/2023

What Makes a Great Mentor?
By: Christine Harper

            The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mentor (as a noun) as an experienced, trusted counselor or guide; a tutor, coach.  As a verb, it means to coach.  Synonyms for the verb form include coach, counsel, guide, lead, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor.  In the classic poem The Odyssey, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War, he placed Mentor in charge of his son Telemachus and of his palace.  Mentor was not only a friend of Odysseus, he was a wise, old man.  As an English teacher, I could talk literature all day long, but my focus for this article is our mentors.  Odysseus chose Mentor to teach his son because he was a trusted friend and he was wise/experienced.

            January 31st is Thank Your Mentor Day, and we appreciate all the folks out there who mentor other people.  You might be a coach; you might be someone who mentors our new staff; you might be someone who is teaching someone a new job; you might be an older brother showing his younger brother how to survive high school; you might be a varsity basketball player coaching up a freshman player.  Whatever mentor role you have, it is an important one.

            Our mentors in the district do so much for our new staff.  Sometimes it’s in the form of guidance through teaching a particular concept.  Sometimes it’s showing a new teacher how to log in to the student information system.  Sometimes it’s just being a shoulder to cry on.  Whatever their role is on a given day, it is absolutely necessary that these folks are around to provide that.

            Our Bright Future Lunch Buddies are mentors as well.  Sometimes they just show up and are the much-needed smile that a student needs.  Sometimes there are little snippets of wisdom shared, and sometimes no words are spoken.  They’re just there. And that presence is so important.

            Mentors are a vital resource in education and in life.  We all need them, and we all can be one.  We appreciate all of the mentors out there who guide, lead, show, and counsel.  Thank you for all you do!