On Monday, 11th February 2019, Start-Rite Day Secondary School had its first Mentor-Mentee lunch with teachers and students. It was a dine-and-discuss-picnic-style lunch where teachers and students could be found sitting informally on mats on the grass, with their lunches unpacked. The students later enjoyed board games and interacted with the teachers in an informal, fun-filled atmosphere within the school grounds, before the mentor-mentees split into groups to have further discussions. At the end of the picnic lunch, the school provided a treat of delicious, creamy ice-cream which certainly seemed a favourite with both mentors and mentees.
Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for the students to bond and relate with their teachers outside the classroom setting and enjoy each others company. Looking at the faces of the groups, it was certainly an enjoyable experience. The Mentor-Mentee Programme is designed to enhance a student’s social, academic and personal development. Its positive effect includes higher school attendance, better attitude towards school, lower negative behaviours and increased self-esteem.
Mentoring does not just enhance the lives of the students being mentored, but also the teachers that are doing the mentoring. Lunch was just one way for mentor-mentees to spend their time as there are many other ways that students are mentored including reading, playing games, helping with homework, or just talking with them. The key is to establish a relationship with them that nurtures and supports them.