Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Do students choose to be in the mentoring program?
Students are able to self-select to be a part of the Comal ISD Mentoring Program, but most are recommended by a Comal ISD staff member or their parents. There are many reasons a student may be recommended to participate. The Campus Ambassador talks to the student to make certain they are on board and willing to give the mentoring program a chance. No students are required to be a part of the program.
Will young people and their parents be concerned with a stranger trying to be their friend?
The Campus Ambassador does the work up front to make sure parents know the goals and guidelines of our Comal ISD Mentoring Program. We want parents to know we are not taking their place, but are coming alongside them to help their child be successful. Once parent permission is obtained, the Mentor Ambassador will meet with the student to share information about the program and their mentor once assigned. There will likely be some hesitation during the first meeting, but keeping things light at first will help to build the relationship and trust between you and your mentee.
What if I miss a session with my mentee or my schedule has to change completely?
Things sometimes happen beyond our control. If you find out you have to miss a mentoring session, let the Campus Ambassador know so the child can be informed. If you want to try to reschedule for another time that week, speak to the Campus Ambassador and they will let you know if it is possible. At your next meeting, assure your mentee that they know your absence had nothing to do with them. One of the most critical pieces to mentoring is dependability. Many children have been let down numerous times by adults who have made promises and not kept them. This is easily avoided by communicating with the school when you know you cannot be there for your scheduled session. If you find out you need to change your meeting time permanently, please inform the Campus Ambassador or Director of Community Education.
What if my mentee tells me something I am not sure how to handle (for example: he/she is being abused)?
One of the possibilities of building a safe, trusting relationship with a young person is that he or she may begin to share intimate, unexpected, or even shocking revelations. As a mentor, your job is to listen, avoid being judgmental, and to share this sensitive information with the Campus Ambassador or School Counselor. By law, any suspected neglect or abuse of any kind must be reported. Whether or not you know it is true is not up to you. It must be reported to the Campus Ambassador or Counselor immediately.
Setting confidentiality guidelines early with your mentee is very important. During one of your first meetings, you and your mentee can discuss what you expect from one another. Assure your mentee that you will always act with his or her best interest in mind. If you ever need to seek outside help for your mentee, you can refer back to this conversation and the promises you made to them.
What if I say the wrong thing?
No one is perfect. We certainly do not expect our mentors to be perfect or have all of the "right" answers. We just expect you to be present. You will make some mistakes and possibly say the wrong thing sometime, but this is a great life learning opportunity to show your mentee how to appropriately handle a mistake. You can offer an apology and model humility. You could be the first adult to show this type of respect to your mentee. Seeing a trusted adult handle problems and take responsibility will help your mentee develop their own positive conflict resolution skills.
Young people's problems seem so complex. What can I possibly do?
It can be a complex world out there for some of our youth, but in many cases, what they need is to have a positive, caring adult to connect with. They are not looking for you to "fix" anything, so the pressure is off! You are not there to solve your mentee's problems. You are there to listen to them, laugh with them, model appropriate behavior for them, and help them see the amazing things they can do with their life. Just use your experiences through living life to guide you.
What if my mentee will not talk to me?
Shyness and awkwardness are common and to be expected at the beginning of almost any relationship. This is not necessarily an indication that you are not connecting. Face-to-face communication is a diminishing skill in our world today, so communicating verbally is another skill you can bring to your mentee. It may take some time to get comfortable together. If your mentee is quiet, ask more open-ended questions instead of those that just require a yes or no answer. Ask him or her to teach you how to do something or ask their advice to help build trust. Sometimes engaging your mentee in an activity while you converse will put them more at ease.
Can I meet or communicate with my mentee outside of school or off school grounds?
It is highly suggested that communication and meetings take place only in the school setting. Comal ISD is not liable for anything that happens with your mentee if you are meeting outside of the designated mentoring time. If you decide to communicate or meet with your mentee or their parents outside of your designated time, talk to the Director of Community Education first.