This is a short reflection written by a peer mentor after 12 weeks of peer mentoring:
It has been a wonderful few months getting to know the mentees as well as my new role as mentor. The pros far outweigh the cons of being a mentor. Some of the key points raised were, advice, being amiable, learning, guiding, helping etc. Aside from these valuable key points we were told to dig deeper and create a do’s and dont’s list on a poster, and present it to the class. This allows for us as mentees to become active participants through what I would suggest is an important trait to have. These past few months will hopefully make it easier for the first years to settle into the life of being a student and the many issues that come with it. Not only do you get an insight into how it would be if one were to go into the field of teaching, but how it feels when the roles are reversed. By being a mentor I have gained an understanding of sympathy and empathy as well as their differences and the importance of body language. By being an active listener it enables mentees’ to feel welcome and allows them to be comfortable in your presence, and without being judged.
In regards to being a good listener a particular comment I read by Carl Rogers (which is a must read) and what normally happens instinctively when one is presented with a problem was that… ‘When we encounter a person with a problem our usual response is to try to change a way of looking at things – to get him to see his situation the way we see it or would like him to see it.’ (Roger & Farson 1987) An important way to bring about changes in peoples attitudes and behaviour is to be a great listener and when people are really listened to, they tend to correct whatever the issue at hand may be themselves. Although there was no right or wrong answer in this particular situation it made me think in what ways would be best to help address it. I stress the importance of being a good active listener because before this course my mind would wonder uncontrollably, but taking a step back and looking at the situation I felt it necessary to think about it with roles reversed. I would not take kindly to someone ignoring me when I spoke. Although there are many more noteworthy attributes for being a mentor theses all will help me later in life, and allow me to incorporate them into work life as well as home.
Reference: Rogers, C. R. & Farson, R. E. (1987) Active listening. In Communication in Business Today. Ed. Newman, R. G., Danziger, M. A. & Cohen, M. Washington, D. C.: Health and Company