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Mentor Huddles

  • Happen at the end of a curricular pair event and are an opportunity to debrief the event
  • Frame the current event/lesson in the scope and sequence for the grade
  • Provide mentors with tools and strategies to strengthen their relationships with their mentees.
  • Provide mentors with an opportunity to develop a sense of community by allowing them to share experiences and strategies with each other.
  • Provide an opportunity for Program Managers to:
    • Strengthen their relationships with mentors
    • Provide important updates or announcements
    • Increase efficiency by providing streamlined pair support to groups of mentors. 

The mentor huddle agenda is built in to the event plan for your event. 

Example Agenda – 20 minutes

  • 2 minutes: Frame the focus for the huddle
  • 12 minutes: Mentor discussion, questions for the first mentor huddle of the year are: basic background, why did you want to volunteer with iMentor and describe your mentee in 1- 2 sentences. Then report outs. 
  • 3 minutes: Preview the next unit/event/lesson
  • 3 minutes: Announcements relevant to the school, grade and mentor community events in the region

The first Huddle should outline the purpose, agenda, and non-negotiable of “Mentor Huddles” so that mentors know what to expect, and includes a discussion of the qualities/actions of a great mentor (see What Makes a Great Mentor).

Potential discussion topics for your Mentor Huddles

  • Coordinating one-on-one meetings with your mentee 
    • Reflection question: What has worked well for you when trying to coordinate one-on-one meetings with your mentee?
  • How to write effective, clear emails to model good writing for mentees
    • Reflection question: What are some guidelines or “rules” you have set for yourself for writing to your mentee? E.g. “I will share personal anecdotes,” “I will write at least 3 cohesive paragraphs." (potential handout: sample emails to outline qualities of effective, clear email communication)
  • How to communicate effectively with your mentee at events and one-on-one meetings
    • Reflection questions: What, if anything, do you do to prepare for your meetings with your mentee? What has worked well in the past?
  • How to increase trust and openness with your mentee to maximize the impact of your relationship
    • Reflection questions: Share examples to illustrate what trust and openness looks like in a mentoring relationship. What strategies have you used to get your mentee to open up?
  • Your mentee’s school: resources available and important contacts
    • Reflection questions: What do you need from your mentee’s school to best guide him/her? Who are some of the school contacts you wish you could talk to? (potential handout: list of supports available to mentees at school or other locations, including school employees they can contact (be sure to get permission from school contacts first). Note: advise mentors on contacting protocol, e.g. always ask your PM first, ask mentees for permission before sharing personal info.
  • How to talk to your mentee about academics
    • Reflection questions: Do you know your mentee’s academic standing? How do you gauge your mentee’s academic standing in a respectful, trust-building manner? (potential handout: Strategies for having candid, solutions-oriented conversations with mentees about academics, and resources for helping struggling mentees)
  • How to set (and follow up on) SMART goals with your mentee
    • Reflection questions: What short- and long-term goals have you set with your mentee? How did you arrive at these goals? (potential handout: SMART goals worksheet to be used to set goals with your mentee in an inclusive manner, and to develop a concrete follow-up plan)

For pairs working on the college application process

  • Building a college list—what’s a good fit for your mentee? 
    • Reflection question: What resources, if any, did you use to help your mentee build his/her college list? (potential handout: basic guidelines for matching mentees with schools and modifying their college lists)
  • Essays and letters of recommendation
    • Reflection question: What do you think are key components of a great college essay and letter of recommendation?
  • Creating a task-focused action plan with your mentee
    • Reflection questions: What are you and your mentee working on together regarding the college process? What have you accomplished so far and what are you hoping to accomplish in the next few weeks?