The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves. – Steven Spielberg
We are all mentors. We set examples through our behavior; it speaks louder than our words. It is easy to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” It is far better to simply do what is expected and have others see your example. Building trust is about living our values, not simply telling others our values.
Mentoring someone requires us to build relationships and cultivate trust. Our goal isn’t to encourage others to perform like us. Our goal is to inspire others to outperform us as they extend their own potential. This is the problem of standardized goals and expectations. For some students, the standard is limiting. Once they meet the mark, it is no longer relevant. For other students, the standard may be out of reach, or simply out of focus.
We are compelled to ask questions of one-size-fits-all standards. With diverse communities of learners and complex instructional challenges, we ought to question the status quo and demand better. Preparing students for success tomorrow is impossible using the norms and techniques of yesterday. We are all mentors; we can challenge each individual student to embrace the opportunity to create themselves.