Author: Grant Webster, Head of Academy
“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington
Takes a village to teach a student
Learning doesn’t come easy for some, and at Men of Business Academy we are constantly trying to support students with new initiatives to improve their education experience. One of these ways is through the support of community mentors assisting the boys in the classroom. Historically, adult helpers supporting with student learning often only occurs in early primary years through parent helpers, and is extremely rare in High Schools, especially with 16 to 18-year-old boys. Through having a range of adults to assist student learning, our unique community engagement in the classroom is having great success.
Mentors adding value to students
After an initial invitation asking for volunteers to assist in the classroom, through social media and our business community links, we now have a number of community members, including both male and females ranging in age from 26 through to 70, that support our young men in the classroom throughout the week. Through an initial MOB orientation, induction, an overview of the programs and curriculum that is being implemented, alignment with the mentor’s strengths and passions has occurred to supplement our education programs as well as exposing our young men to positive role models.
Mutual benefits of mentoring students
Timetabling the community mentors on consistent classes has led to improved relationships with the boys and an increased respect for what everyone can bring to learning. Long-time mentor Geoff Gillette says “I get so much joy out of connecting with the boys and helping them in any way I can, its very fulfilling. Giving the mentors an option to choose what subject they help with, allows us to feel more valuable for the boys. It’s a great way to approach the program”. The addition of the mentors being able to share life stories or practical use of learnings in the classroom adds to the relevance of ‘why?’ boys are learning particular content. The extra support has led to positive improvements in students’ attitudes. In a discussion with one of the Year 12 boys reflecting on the first term and the support of the mentors he commented that, “the mentors help with our work in class and also help with life. They give us good advice about real world stuff.”
Better support for teachers in our classrooms
The teaching staff are fully supportive of this unique initiative with recent addition to the education department Bec Kirton who teaches the applied subjects of both Essential English and Social and Community Studies throwing her support behind the program, saying it’s time to address the major issues within the education system through allowing students that have been disengaged to have extra support in the classroom. “It’s nice to have a different expertise in the classroom so the community mentors are able to apply what I am teaching to the real world easier. All the mentors are here to build relationships with the boys and the boys can feel that. Our students genuinely feel their passion and their willingness to help which reflects in the way the work gets done” Bec said.
We look forward to building these continued relationships with the community and our mentors to deliver a unique educational experience for our boys that Builds Better Men.
If you would like to be a mentor at MOB Academy please connect with us!