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info@sizanani.org.za

 

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WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN DURING THE FIRST MEETING WITH THE MENTOR?

The first meeting should be an opportunity to get to know each other and discuss some important things, like:

  • How you are going to communicate with your mentor.

  • Exchange all your contact info (including your parents’ or guardian’s phone number). Keep your mentor’s number in a safe place, in case your phone is lost. Give the number to your mum or guardian as well.

  • Who is going to initiate meetings (your mentor? yourself?).

  • Where/when will you meet? (at St Mary’s at 2pm in the parking lot, or is Sunday a better day?).

  • Where the mentor will drop you after the meeting.

  • When could he/she meet your parents, mum, guardian.

 

We encourage you and your mentor to sign an agreement.

 

WHAT ELSE IS EXPECTED FROM ME AS A MENTEE?

  • Write a report to your mentor after each outing/activity:

  1. What did you do?  

  2. What did you learn?  

  3. What did you like most?

  4. What did you not like?

 

  • Show your exam results to your mentor as soon as you receive them, so s/he will be able to give you proper guidance. Do not be ashamed if your marks are low. Your mentor is there to help you, not to shout at you!

 

  • If you need help with your school work, do not wait until the last minute to ask for it.

 

“My mentee sent me WhatsApp at 10pm on a Sunday to solve exercises she had to do for Monday morning. I had to explain her that it was not an appropriate time and mentors are not available 24/7”. (mentor)

“I have been always available to help my mentees with maths problems. At the beginning of the year, I helped her and her marks improved. From June, she told me that she did not need help anymore. But she only got 4% at the Maths exam at the end of the year. I was very sad”. (mentor)

  • Speak openly about your school work and difficulties. The mentor might help you to improve your study methods and skills, which are key to your success.

  • If you miss many classes at St Mary’s, please advise your mentor and explain what happened. Your mentor receives the St Mary’s attendance list every 3 months and it is not nice for them to discover that your attendance was low.

  • Reply to all your mentor’s messages in good English (so you’ll practice your spelling).

  • Good communication is key to success. Return your mentors calls and messages. If you are short of airtime on your phone, just send him/her a “call me back message” or a missed call. If you can only check WhatsApp messages at St Mary’s, ask your mentor to contact you by SMS or phone calls during the week. Make it easy for them to organise outings. If you have changed your phone number or if you have lost your phone, send your mother, guardian or a friend’s number to your mentor.

  • Be on time when meeting your mentor. Call your mentor if you can’t make it or if you are late (be honest about what time you will arrive).

 

"I met my mentee twice and then she cancelled two appointments. We exchange messages but I am not sure she is really motivated" (mentor)

  • Do not ask your mentor for money, including for the matric dance. You might explain you have financial difficulties, problems to get school books, getting data, etc. and s/he might try to find ways to help you but s/he is not there to help you financially.

  • When going on outings, dress appropriately (no cleavage, short skirts/shorts) as provocative clothing can make things awkward.

 

GET YOUR FAMILY INVOLVED

  • Let your parents or guardian meet your mentor and invite him/her to any family celebration (wedding, ritual, birthday, etc). S/he will appreciate the invitation, especially if your mentor is a foreigner and wants to know more about your culture and rituals.

“I was invited to my mentee’s baby shower in Alex. I helped make the meals and met the whole family and friends. Even though having a baby was not the best timing given she needed to concentrate on her studies, this experience is one of our best memories.” (mentor)

  • If you do not have a proper place to study at home or if you have too many chores and do not get enough time to study, speak to your mentor. When and how you study will influence your results at the end, so speak up if you need assistance. Your mentor might talk to your family to try to find solutions.

  • NB! Make sure you get your family's approval before committing to any outing organised and paid for by your mentor.

"I paid for the camp outing in December for both my mentees a few weeks and they cancelled their attendance at the last minute because their family decided to go home for the holiday."(mentor)

HOW TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR MENTOR

Many mentors complain that their mentees are shy. It takes time, sometimes a year, to get at ease. You might be scared and not sure how to behave with older adults, from a different social and sometimes cultural background. It is normal. To make the things easier, make an effort.

  • Reply to their questions with proper explanations. Some mentors say that at first, when they ask a question, they only get a “yes” or “no” as a reply, which does not help to start a conversation.

  • Ask them questions (about their job, family, youth, favourite singers, what they watch on TV, anything important for you). There is nothing wrong with enquiring too much, it only proves that you are an ambitious person and that’s a good thing.

  • Ask questions about your mentor’s culture.  It is enriching to know other people, especially if they are from another culture/country. Try to do some research on your mentor’s country and you will impress him/her. Your mentor could teach you some of their favourite recipes and you could show them how to cook a local dish. Ask them to show you pictures of their home, family, childhood, etc.

  • Speak English, even between mentees, when you are with a mentor. It is not a nice feeling for a mentor to drive their mentees around, who only speak between themselves in vernac. Make him/her a part of your conversations and use this opportunity to improve your English. You will need to speak English well in order to succeed at varsity.

  • If you are worried about something, tell your mentor and maybe you will get some good advice. Tell them what you feel, even if it is a negative feeling (if you are confused/scared/discouraged, etc.) Sometimes all you need is someone to speak to. Keeping things bottled up will destroy you slowly.

  • If you need to go somewhere to meet your mentee, do not wait until the last minute to get all the proper directions and information.

  • Say “thank you” or a word of appreciation after an outing/a meeting organised by your mentor as it will be appreciated!

 

BE A PROACTIVE MENTEE

  • It is important to have the right information about the content of the studies you would like to do after Matric. You can find a lot of information on internet websites, including the Sizanani website. It is important to link your career to your personality. Love what you Do and Do what you Love.

  • Check university websites for the minimum APS score and percentage required for the courses you want to study. Compare your marks and see which subjects you need to improve. Be realistic; you won’t be able to qualify for an Engineering course if your Math and Science marks are below 50%.

  • If you are interested in a particular career, ask your mentor to contact professionals and arrange for a meeting. Get as much information as possible about their job and even ask them if you can spend a day with them at their workplace during school holidays. This is known as “job shadowing”. It helps you to confirm whether you would really be comfortable in your chosen career.

 

MORE SUGGESTIONS

  • It is important to have the right information about the content of the studies you would like to do after Matric. You can find a lot of information on internet websites, including the Sizanani website. It is important to link your career to your personality. Love what you Do and Do what you Love.

  • Check university websites for the minimum APS score and percentage required for the courses you want to study. Compare your marks and see which subjects you need to improve. Be realistic; you won’t be able to qualify for an Engineering course if your Math and Science marks are below 50%.

  • If you are interested in a particular career, ask your mentor to contact professionals and arrange for a meeting. Get as much information as possible about their job and even ask them if you can spend a day with them at their workplace during school holidays. This is known as “job shadowing”. It helps you to confirm whether you would really be comfortable in your chosen career.