Becoming a mentor or coordinator is an exciting opportunity to give back to students. Our volunteers are chosen on their passion for education, working with young people, and giving back, as well as their unique individual experiences. However, before stepping into the classroom, our mentors and coordinators need to be equipped with the right knowledge and tools to engage with students! To do this, Ignite Mentoring holds Mentor and Coordinator Training Days each semester. Keep on reading to find out about each day!
Mentor Training Day
Mentor Training Day is one of the biggest days of the year! It starts off with our coordinators greeting their mentors as they arrived. This is a great opportunity for the groups to get to know each other and allowed our coordinators to welcome new mentors to Ignite Mentoring.
Our 2021 training began with a welcome to all our mentors, where we discussed Ignite Mentoring’s purpose, mission, values, and what we do! The mentors got to hear about all the fun activities involved in being a mentor, including classes, excursions, socials, and our 10-year event.
Our mentors were then split between new mentors and returning! Our new mentors had the opportunity to discuss different challenges that may arise in their classes, and were given guidance on how to overcome these in a positive way! They were shown how to talk to students, run activities and help grow the confidence of students. Alternatively, the returning mentors were given the opportunity to improve their skills and discuss strategies for resolving issues in the classroom.
Mentor groups were then given some time to spend getting to know each other, asking their coordinators any questions, and participating in icebreakers with their group, including some Ignite Mentoring activities. This made our mentors more comfortable and prepared them for their first class!
The mentor groups then participated in a social Amazing Race to finish the day! The mentors got to participate in some of our program activities, including Knot A Problem, Rebus Puzzles, and No Hands Cup Stacking. Not only was this a great bonding opportunity for our mentor groups, but also allowed our new mentors to get to know some of the activities they would be facilitating in their classes during the semester.
Coordinator Training Day
Before coordinators meet their mentors on Mentor Training Day, they must first complete Coordinator Training Day. This is a valuable opportunity for new and returning coordinators to refresh their knowledge of our organisation, learn behaviour management tips, and become aware of the administrative tasks that come with being a coordinator.
The day was run by our 2021 Coordinator Manager, Anisha Sharma. We started with an engaging icebreaker, which was especially valuable to new coordinators - a classroom activity called Collaborative Face Drawing, where coordinators pass a sheet of paper around the room and each person draws a new facial feature! We ended up with some very amusing portraits which sparked some debate about how much they looked like the actual person!
We then started our training with a refresher on Ignite’s purpose: that all young people should feel empowered to reach their full potential, and that Ignite Mentoring aims to promote self-confidence in students through small-group mentoring at schools in lower socioeconomic areas. To do this, Ignite runs three programs: Resilience, Careers, and English as a Second Language. Our Programs Manager for 2021, Mitchell Garland, gave us a run-down on what our programs look like, followed by a presentation of information on our schools by 2021 Operations Manager Stephanie Lurssen.
A highlight of the day was our guest speaker, Emily Wise from Teach for Australia. Emily taught us some invaluable lessons, especially about student engagement and crowd control. She ran through the levels of behaviour and appropriate responses to them and ran a discussion-based activity which sparked a lot of thought about how we react to students in the classroom. The activity resembled one we do at Ignite, called ‘Hot Topics’, where coordinators arranged themselves in a line based on the degree to which they agreed with certain statements, like “students should never misbehave.”
Anisha then discussed some skills that coordinators will need in the classroom to run an effective lesson. These include things like a call to attention, how to run an introduction, interactive ways to give instructions, and tips on managing behaviour. Importantly, coordinators learnt of the administrative tasks they need to do each week, including lesson evaluations, how to access resources, and make lesson plans.
As well as being an inspiring and enjoyable day, Coordinator Training Day ensures that our coordinators don’t go into their classes empty-handed. They are armed instead with an arsenal of skills and tools to make sure that they can effectively coordinate a mentor group, run a class and facilitate activities. This ensures that our mentors, coordinators, and -- most importantly - our students, get the most they possibly can from each and every session of Ignite Mentoring!