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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-01-2005, 04:33 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy204
[size=1][b]My team advisers have ask me to mentor the team next year. I feel that if I come back next year that I can help improve the team image/organization. But the down side of it,is that everyone will not respect me for trying to help out the team.
What do you mean, they won't respect you?

Being a young mentor (I'm 26), the only problems I've really run into is that the older mentors / volunteers at FIRST events sometimes still treat me like a high school kid, and yet the kids are kind of stand-offish in terms of friendship until they get to know me. It's a bit of a limboland.
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Unread 05-01-2005, 04:35 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy204
But the down side of it,is that everyone will not respect me for trying to help out the team.
That sounds like their problem....not yours....do what you wanna do with your time/energy and $%^& the naysayers....gl
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Unread 05-02-2005, 10:01 AM
dachickindapit dachickindapit is offline
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by tckma
What do you mean, they won't respect you?

Being a young mentor (I'm 26), the only problems I've really run into is that the older mentors / volunteers at FIRST events sometimes still treat me like a high school kid, and yet the kids are kind of stand-offish in terms of friendship until they get to know me. It's a bit of a limboland.
I understand what he means that the students won't respect him. I was in his position a very short time ago (I'm 20). At my school (Kettering), we spend 11 weeks taking classes, then 11 weeks working at a co-op job, and go year-round. My schedule fell that I am on "work term" during most of the FIRST season (January through the end of March), and since my co-op is GM (my team's sponsor), I could mentor the team. I had spent 3 years on the team as a student, and obviously, there were still many students that had been students with me. This was what I was most worried about -- I figured the new students would respect me and see me as a mentor, but these other students wouldn't. It ended up the total opposite -> the students I had worked with knew what I could do and respected me even more for it.

I have learned a lot from this change, though (this was my second season as a mentor).
*You're not necessarily going to have the respect of everybody, even the mentors you worked for and with, without proving to them that you can continue your success, reliability, and responsibility that you had on the team before.

*You may think you know how to mentor, but you'll quickly find out that you don't. That really comes with time and experience.

*As a young mentor, you will have to command the respect of the students. They will try to get a lot of things past you, as you're closer to their age and know them -- you've got to know BEFOREHAND what you can give into and what you can't. They'll quickly learn that you mean what you say. Also on that note, I helped out a rookie team with their Judge's Packet, which I have a lot of experience in working with. I made a point to dress nicely, have the confidence in my speech that I felt about the material, and make sure I was representing GM and Team 67 in a good way. After I worked with her students, my sister (their team leader) commented that I had really commanded their respect. This is way easier to do with students who don't know you, but you can start this right away.


If you want to ask me any questions, I'd be glad to help you out...PM or IM me.
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Unread 05-02-2005, 10:17 AM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Respect is a heck of an issue.

I'm the team leader for a group that was a rookie this year. 3 out of 4 of my seniors were older than me. You want to talk respect issues? Yeah.

There's this funny thing about high school kids. They're taught to respect adults, but there's not too much about respecting their peers. The only way that they're going to respect you is if you give them a reason to.

Your mentors are asking you to take on this job because they see something in you worth keeping. I don't know you personally or your mentors so I can't say quite what that something is, but they obviously think that it's something good. Show your students why your mentors want to keep you around. Show them that you have talent and you're willing to share it with them, to teach them, if they want to learn.

That's the only way that you're going to get their respect. I would say to try it though. Maybe things won't go well right from the start, but when they do, nothing will make you happier in this world.
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Unread 05-02-2005, 03:31 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Maybe I'm missing something here. I am a mentor and being respected never entered my mind as a criteria for helping out. Our team is composed of mentors, parents, teachers, and students. All have an equal say, pull their own weight, contribute what they can. I have learned stuff from students less than half my age. I respect them and they respect me. But our team is more of a level learning environment than one where the mentors deserve or command any more respect than anyone else on the team.

That said, there are times, given the necessity of the moment, that a mentor will have to make a judgement call or decision. Yes, some call me "Mr" Hudson, but other than that I feel we are all peers. In fact as I think about, many of our mentors are called by first names by the students.

Is mentor just title they give to the people who are too old to be students any more?
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Unread 05-02-2005, 04:00 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Barry, may I ask how old you are?
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Unread 05-02-2005, 06:44 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

I think I can understand the respect issue. High school kids (including myself and my peers when i was younger) aren't always great at respecting eachother. It is often about trying to show off, or do better than eachother, so when a student graduates and is back on the team again, it can be hard to immediately transition into being a mentor and getting that respect.

To be honest, realize that you still dont know everything (none of us do actually), and that your experience in FIRST isnt that much more than the kids below you. That said, you can now be the "cool college kid." I remember when I was younger and my friend's older brother would come back from college... he was always the "cool college kid." There is a level of maturity that comes with making the decision to start college.

But think about it this way. When I graduated high school, I owed so much to my FIRST team and my mentors. There was no way I could ever really repay the favor, but I was determined to try. So in starting the Clarkson team (229), my entire goal was to try to inspire just one student the way I had been inspired. Every student didnt have to like me, every student didnt have to think I was awesome, heck, every student didnt have to respect me... but if I had the chance to help just one student, I felt I would have accomplished something. It was an insane balance, starting a team and managing college classes... yes my grades dropped during build season. But the output was amazing. A whole new team, a whole new set of students inspired, and a lot of respect from everyone.

So think about what you can accomplish. If you can balance college & FIRST, you should definitely do it. The rewards from mentoring are so much greater than anything you ever felt as a student. Just remember, you are delegating now... helping them learn... you shouldnt be doing much if any of the work anymore.

Good luck!
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  #23   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-02-2005, 08:02 PM
Jaine Perotti Jaine Perotti is offline
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

I want to mention another factor that you should consider in the decision concerning post-high school mentoring:

The decision of whether or not to mentor after high school is a very tough one. It is something that I am currently struggling to decide now, even though I am only a junior. I have gotten so much from FIRST that I too feel the desire to give something back. It has changed my life; now I want to use FIRST as an instrument to change the lives of others - positively. I am not currently not sure about whether or not I want to mentor, or volunteer, or work for FIRST in some other way after I graduate. However, I know that a major influence on my decision will be the impact that my FIRST work (whatever it may be) has on my academic career.

My main concern is maintaining a balance between FIRST and my academic work once I go to college. This year, I struggled greatly to contribute to my team AND maintain my grades. As the end of the quarter neared, I was WAY far behind in my work (my closest friends are familiar with the struggle I went through). It has made me think a little bit harder about what the effect of MENTORING would be on my grades, let alone being a student on a team. If the combined pressure of academics and FIRST mentorship cause my grades to slip, it would be foolish of me to continue mentoring and neglect my schoolwork. The grades that I recieve in college are going to be very important to me for my entire life. I do not want to mess up, or do less than I could have, because I was mentoring a FIRST team during college. My future employers will not know or care about what other committments I had during the time period that I recieved those grades. They will not understand about FIRST, and will not be sympathetic if I did poorly because of it.

My one word of warning to you about mentoring after high school: please, PLEASE make sure that you won't be sacrificing your academic status so that you can mentor a team. You have your whole life ahead of you to mentor a team - it would be best to give your education and career a solid foundation, or at least make sure that you are not in over you head - before you start to mentor a FIRST team. As many can attest to, mentorship is a VERY big committment.

As for the respect issue...

One thought comes to my mind. Earlier this season, a student who graduated from our team last year came back to visit us and mentored us for a few sessions in programming. I do not think that this student fully realized what it meant to be a mentor, because they acted as if they were still a high school student on the team - and in my opinion, did not set the best example for the other students as to how a good mentor conducts themselves. This person acted somewhat immature and was not always as constructive as they could have been. So my word of advice - (and this will help you gain respect) Do not behave as if you were still a student on the team. Set a mature, responsible, and constructive example. If a student treats you disrespectfully, respond with maturity, and treat them as if you were the adult, not the student. If you can take a position of leadership that shows you are a mature person, a MENTOR, and not a student - you will begin to gain the respect of your students. One other thing that you can do is talk to the other adult mentors on the team, and explain to them how you feel. Ask them if maybe they can talk to the team about what it means to have respect for other team members - students and mentors alike. Take this time to build the team, set precedents of respect, and become more functional in terms of the way members treat one another. Take your leadership position and make the most of it by transforming your team for the better.

Hope this helped,
-- Jaine
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  #24   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-06-2005, 08:45 AM
Jim Kosaski Jim Kosaski is offline
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

I plan to mentor a team no matter where a new job takes me. I will not be back working in Center Line next year, but if I am still in the area, I plan to help them out. But, if a job takes me somewhere else, I'll find a team that will want some extra help. I'm a machinist who can teach kids anything they want to know.
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Unread 05-06-2005, 03:57 PM
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Re: To mentor or not to mentor, thats is the question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy204
My team advisers have ask me to mentor the team next year. I feel that if I come back next year that I can help improve the team image/organization. But the down side of it,is that everyone will not respect me for trying to help out the team. WHAT DOES THE FIRST COMMUNITY THINK I SHOULD DO.

I want to do it next year to help and improve the team

Also I am looking to come twice a week and with them to regionals to help out, next year

If you can and want to mentor then do it. If you show leadership and take responsibility for the needs of the team the members would be stupid not to respect you. And if any are too stupid to respect your appropriate efforts what do you care ?- they are the ones with the problem, not you.

Your adult mentors think you would be an asset so you probably will be. This is a grande opportunity for you and your team. Take advantage of it.

Of course this should be your decision- not the FIRST community's. Take charge of your destiny.

WC
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