I believe that mentoring students is the most important non-technical task that we as instructors must perform. I use the term "must" because without mentoring we are just passing on technical data without the motivation and drive that a lot of students need to be successful.

Many of our students don't have mentors in their lives. Instructors fill that role. Along with mentoring, we must also model and monitor(hold them accountable and follow up). Do most of the instructors at your school do this?


This is a very accurate observation. In addition, by mentoring students, we also learn more about the individual student and can then give more detailed direction to help the student succeed.

This is such an important facet of what we do. Many of our students do not have this in their lives at all, in fact have been told by family that they will not succeed. The challenge comes in balancing this with modeling and monitoring. the monitoring is a challenge for many of our instructors.

Mentoring is crucial. So simple, and yet difficult to achieve if there are more than 100 students....the personal touch is important, no doubt about that! But how can we achieve this? It seems that a teacher can effectively mentor 10-20 students. (Though this could depend on the school or subjects.)

In the feild I teach the students usually
take their education personally and will
usually seek out instructors as mentors for
themselves but most instructors will find students that they feel need more for some reason
usually I suspect they see something of themselves in the students they seek out. Our
individual courses are comparitively short so
throughout the school with close to 16 instructors a year most students find at least
one instructor they continue to seek out and
every instructor has students that stop
by on occaision for additional help. I
believe this is the part most of our instructors
find to be the most satisfying.

Research now shows that student who "connect" with at least one student one faculty member and one administrator persist the most.

I agree that mentoring is crucial we like to keep our class sizes small no more than 30 students in order to keep that personal touch, learning each students name difficult as it maybe is a must, also not only having administration as mentors but also alumni and industry professionals involved with the school and student body takes it one step further.

I couldn't agree more...even considering the short length of time for our classes, i will usually have one or two students that will continually come back over the course of their schooling for help, guidance, or just to say hello. It's clear to me that our role as an insturctor doesn't end with each class, but it continues on because we are mentors. To have a sutdent come back after almost a years time asking for help or guidance is very shows that a true connection was made.

I strongly agree. Mentoring my students lets them know that I am not just connecting with them on a professional level. It lets them know that they are not just a number to me. They are individuals with individual needs and expectations and goals.

Students need to CONNECT with at lease one student, one faculty member and one administrator. Research says that those who connect, persist at a far greater rate than those who don't.

I strongly believe the same thing. I notice such a big difference with the students. When they do get mentoring they are excited. The students enjoy interacting with others and informing them of the progress they are making. I wish students every where could experience this.

I agree David. There has to be some form of communication between student and instructor so we are not looked upon as babysitters. (Although sometimes I feel that way) Without showing students how to apply the technical aspects of what they are learning, and sticking with them until they understand, we might as well give up. The reason I decided to take on this position in the first place was to offer my expertise and wisdom to those younger than myself. Without the students, our future would be very grim.

There has to be some form of communication between student and instructor.


I also agree with David. The communication it not only verbal communication, but this can be nonverbal communication. Students can easily tell if we are there because we have a passion for what we do or there for a paycheck.

What is easier to do? Mentoring or Monitoring? From my position as Manager of Student Services at a college level, I often see that some facilitators embrace monitoring more than mentoring. I realize that both need to be there, but one without the other, particularly monitoring without mentoring creates a message that is only marginally encouraging to students. Mentoring is personal and reaches the heart.


You are correct, "mentoring is personal and reaches the heart". Monitoring is equally important, because you must be able to follow up with individuals so you can continue to mentor.

I hear it all the time from our students that they appreciate the attention they receive at our school and they can tell we care.


That is nice to hear from students. We are very transparent in our students eyes and they can easily tell if we truely care or not.

Modeling, mentoring and monitoring must be the responsibility of the entire institution. The instructors are not the only responsible parties when it comes to retention. Although instructors play a huge role in assisting students, the cashier's office, financial aid, admissions, counseling and advising and on up to the President's office all should have a vested interest in students completing courses and, ultimately, graduating.

Increasing enrollment and retention are extremely important in our institution and strategies are constantly being implemented. We have had campus-wide meetings to discuss how to improve these areas.