The first question people ask me is: what is Mentoring? Immediately followed by: And how is it different to tutoring?
Simply put, Mentoring is about relationships. It is about believing in a child. It is not outcome driven, but process driven. Whilst tutoring involves the exchange of knowledge, Mentoring is a learning experience in itself. By focusing on the processes involved in a child’s success, not only is success inevitable, but it also creates a space that allows for greater communication and support beyond academic goals.
One of my inspirations and, indeed, Mentors, Rita Pierson, is an African-American teacher who calls to action educators to be more than just transmitters of information. From one of the most inspirational TED talks, I quote one of Rita’s most powerful statements and it appears in our MKM space; it echoes the very nature of what we promote:
“Every child deserves a CHAMPION; an adult who will NEVER give up on them, who understanding the power of CONNECTION insists they become THE BEST they can possibly be.”
We want all our children at MKM to be valued and nurtured for their academic skills as well as for the unique individuals they are. Students so often feel lost in a sea of faces. It is about building relationships that reach out to students in a way that only one-on-one guidance can; where they are most likely to be seen and heard, embracing the individual identity of our students and providing an open space for honesty and the exploration of their own ideas that can be cultivated and grown is the true essence of education. Teaching and tutoring can be too focused upon the end product, the results. We became educators to be Mentors to our students. So that they could perceive their own potential and their own unique ideas within a framework of ideas.
We did not become educators to create students that can simply regurgitate facts and dates or, more disturbingly, our own ideas that we present in a lecture or classroom.
I have had the greatest honour of seeing what a significant difference being an advocate for a child can mean. At MKM, we hope to be friends, teachers, coaches, counsellors and Mentors. We hope to be that fragment of light that can illuminate the sometimes challenging path laid before students.
At MKM, every child has a champion.