Laura Scanlon, Program Associate at BestPrep and educator with 30+ years of experience, talks about the unique impact of online mentoring programs, and the difference you may not know you’re making . . .
Q: What made you choose eMentors for your classroom?
A: I started doing eMentors 13 years ago. I was designing a curriculum for a 9th grade business class, and I wanted something more; an outside experience. The program met so many of our class goals: lots of writing, real-world experience, and career exploration.
Q: What would tell an educator considering doing a program like eMentors or Cloud Coach?
A: Why wouldn’t you? You’ve got 30 students in your class. There’s no way you can serve each student, one on one, and get to know them like a mentor can. Let another professional fill a role you don’t have much time to take on.
Q: What benefits do students receive from a mentorship that occurs online, not face-to-face?
A: They become better writers. Teachers are constantly reminding kids, this is texting, and this a professional email. You have to know the difference before you leave school.
Q: In a written mentorship, what would you say to a mentor whose mentee isn’t responsive?
A: Mentors have to consider the possible challenges our students have. Some students may be facing poverty or other hardships. They may be worried about basic survival needs. Writing a letter to their mentor isn’t always the top priority.
Q: What would you say to people who have mentored students through programs like eMentors or Cloud Coach?
A: You have no idea of the impact that you’re making on a young person. In one of the eMentors connections I managed this past fall, roughly 40% of my mentors only received 1-2 letters from their mentee. It was just the dynamics of the class. The fact that a student who only wrote one letter got a reply made them feel special. It sends a message: even though I can’t see them, somebody cares about me.
Every student is coming with a different skillset. Some have a harder time writing, or are still learning the language. Some kids feel that they aren’t interesting. In whatever capacity the mentor can give their student kudos or be nice to them in writing – believe me, it’s making an impact.
If you are not yet a mentor, and would like to learn how to become involved in one of BestPrep’s email mentoring programs, learn more here.