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We are privileged to share in the journeys of several immigrant children who are Image Builder Scholars. Their mentors comment on how rewarding it is to spend time with these incredible students. These children are motivated, intelligent, and thrive with individual attention.
It's common for immigrant children to carry responsibilities beyond their years as they assist their parents as translators and caregivers for younger siblings. It's easy to judge a situation we've never experienced. The truth is that immigrant children often come from loving homes with parents who are working hard to survive without a support system. Their parents value education and desire a better life for their children, and the only way they know how to accomplish this is by working hard and trusting the schools to teach their children the skills and language they need to succeed.
Nationally, 25% of the children under 18 years old (and 33% of those between 18 and 30 years olds) are immigrants or are the children of immigrants.
Although every child has the same basic needs of being safe, valued and protected, immigrant children need extra time and attention because they're in the middle of a journey most of us will never take.
Many of our immigrant students move frequently, so we may only have the privilege of connecting with them for a year or a few semesters. This article from The Chronicle of Evidence Based Mentoring shares six strategies that will maximize our time with these special kids.
Baby It's Cold Outside...
I'm scheduled to meet with my student, but it's supposed to snow/ sleet/ freezing rain... now what?
Image Builders will follow the closing/ cancellation direction of the school district of your student. For late starts, please confirm with your student's teacher EVEN IF SCHOOL IS IN SESSION BY YOUR REGULAR MENTORING APPOINTMENT because the teacher may have to adjust the entire day's schedule.
If school is closed or canceled on your regularly scheduled mentoring day, feel free to contact the teacher if your schedule allows you to come on a different day that week. Often it is the time, rather than the specific day, that is inflexible for your student.
If school is in session and you are unable to meet with your student during your regular mentoring appointment, please notify the teacher ASAP. Whenever possible, please reschedule for another day that week, and apologize to your student if you have to miss your appointment completely.
Thank you for giving your time every week to someone else's child. You're making a difference by modeling behavior that demonstrates respect and professionalism for appointments and relationships of mutual respect. Thank you for teaching much more than academics!
Please join me for the next Image Builders Mentor Orientation
WHEN: Thursday, September 24, 2015
WHERE: Williamson County Mayor's Conference Room (where you early vote & renew car tags)
1320 West Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
WHO'S INVITED: Anyone interested in being a mentor in FSSD or WCS
*WCS mentors must be approved as Tier III volunteers
current mentors may choose to attend, but it is only mandatory for new volunteers
The increased focus on writing about math and "explaining your thinking" sometimes leaves less time in the classroom for practicing basic math facts. In response to this, we're also including a deck of cards and a pair of dice in every Image Builders Mentoring binder this year.
Along with the Literacy Builders activity sheets in the mentoring binders, you'll also find Math Builders activities with suggestions for math games that use cards and/ or dice. You can also check out our boards and follow us on Pinterest for updated math and literacy ideas.
As always, feel free to adapt these ideas to fit the needs and personality of your Scholar.
Whether you choose to focus on Top Secret Adventures, Literacy Builders, Math Builders, reading a book, etc. during your mentoring time, the primary focus should always be on your Scholar and not a task to be completed. Some days you may just need to listen and give your Scholar space to decompress so they can return to class refreshed, encouraged and ready to learn.
Here's a preview of the Math Builders sheets that will be in your binder, along with a link to print a PDF copy in case you need it.
Thank you for all you do!
This summer I spoke to teachers and principals about their expanded emphasis on writing and critical thinking, and how Image Builders can encourage and nurture those skills in our Scholars.
As a result, you will see new activity pages in your student's IB Mentoring Binder this year. If your student enjoys them, feel free to print extra copies and do the activities more than once. There is certainly no obligation to complete them, it's just another resource for you to connect with your student in a fun way while supporting their academic development.
Below you'll find a link to the printable pdf file as well as a preview of what is printed and waiting for you in your student's binder. Top Secret Adventures will be available again this year, and we will make every effort to ensure your student receives a packet for a country you've not yet explored. :-)
Thank you for investing in the lives and minds of your student- you're changing the future one child at a time!
Tests Aren't Always Standardized
Did you know that as a mentor you might be tested each time you meet with your Scholar?
This test doesn't involve number 2 pencils or bubble sheets. This test comes without warning and you may have to prove yourself more than once. You may not even know you've been tested until it's over.
In the 6+ years I've been mentoring, I've never had a student resist their pull-out time with me. I'm used to being met with smiles and excitement. The first week I saw the frown, it never crossed my mind that it was because of me. Kids have good days and bad days, so even though it caught me off guard, we went to the library as usual and when our session ended, I smiled and said as I always do, "I can't wait to see you next week!"
As I entered the classroom a week later, I saw it again. My student- my buddy of 2 years- asked their teacher if they "had to" go with me. I have to admit, this broke my heart. I looked to the teacher and told her that they didn't have to come with me if they would rather stay in the classroom. The teacher was as surprised as I was. Quickly composing herself, she said we should go to the library as usual and afterward she and I could talk about what to do next week.
Ultimately, the teacher decided that the best course of action was to continue meeting as always and so we did. I didn't see the frown again, and it wasn't until yesterday that I realized I had been tested.
Yesterday I was met at the door with the same shy smile that I've looked forward to seeing for 2 years. As we walked from the classroom to the library, my student was happy and we talked about the math game we were going to play. We sat down and without any prompting, my usually shy and quiet student began talking about their weekend. They told me about something that made them sad. They looked into my eyes and I could see that they were not just happy to be continuing our routine, the resistance of the past few weeks was completely gone.
Just like that.
The teacher and I spoke later, and that's when we realized that the resistance wasn't because my student didn't want to see me. Ironically, it was just the opposite. My student may be young, but they've already experienced loss and abandonment. They've been hurt deeply by someone they cared about and they're living with the void left by that person.
My test came when my student began to fear that I would also abandon them. We're in the final stretch of the school year, and my student is strong and smart and resilient. They know that in a few more weeks our routine will be interrupted for the summer. What's the best way to control the pain of loss? Push someone away before they can leave you.
When you're the one being pushed away it feels confusing and sad. It's hard to know how to respond because suddenly instead of being a source of joy it seems you've become a source of frustration.
Stay the course and trust your instincts.
Ironically, the kids who push you away are the ones who need you the most. Quietly respect their boundaries and never try to make them feel guilty. When they're ready, they will stop testing you and you will know that you've passed.
It's not the easiest thing you'll ever do, but I promise that it's worth it.
Ruby K. Payne says that all learning is double-coded; how we feel about something impacts our ability to learn.
An important impact of mentoring is to help students create a positive internal dialogue to hear when they are facing challenging situations.
The list below is a great reminder of how we can redirect negative self-talk in students, and was originally found at: http://edge.ascd.org/blogpost/9-ways-students-can-develop-a-growth-mindset
Here you'll find cool stuff we want to share with you.
Specific Strategies for addressing Learning and Behavior Challenges
This link from Child Mind Institute is a great resource for Attention, Confidence/Self-Esteem, Shyness, ADHD, Trauma, and many other topics important to educating children.
Growth Mindset for Mentors
Want to learn more about growth mindset? This link will take you to a FREE online toolkit specifically designed for mentors!
Executive Function: Infants to Adolescents
This link will take you to a resource from Harvard University explaining executive function with specific ways to strengthen those skills in infants to adolescents.
Resilience: What it is, Why it matters and How to develop it
Shame Resilience: Free Resources from Brene Brown
Click here for Brene Brown's #daringclassrooms resources