By Kenneth D. Davis, EdD

Throughout the history of humanity, it is apparent humans learn better when they participate in peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Mentoring is another aspect of peer-to-peer learning that presents the mentee with the modeling of behavior that leads to successful outcomes and firsthand experiences by identifying the skills and tools exemplified in leaders. Mentoring is a universal opportunity to build a sense of self, improve personal and/or professional development, create a supportive learning environment, open avenues for exposure to opportunities and possibilities previously unknown, and provide an emotional support system for both the mentor and the mentee. This is why schools, corporations, and organizations create mentoring programs where leadership mentors frontline and subordinate employees and/or youth. In schools, it is even more effective when mentees are paired with educators who share their same ethnic and cultural beliefs.

The need for mentoring programs has not diminished over time, but because of its benefits for both the mentor and mentee it is in demand even more. Every mentoring relationship should be viewed as mutually beneficial to both the mentor and mentee as they both seek to become a better version of themselves. Their consistent and positive interactions give them the opportunity to view the world and situations through the other person’s eyes.

Why does anyone need a mentor? Many have proclaimed it is because they need the guidance to see beyond their limitations to discover opportunities and/or possibilities available to them that have the potential of changing their future for the better. Others have said it is because it gives mentees insight into a realm of knowledge that was unknown to them (the mentee) that they can now envision themselves doing and/or living. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and by having a mentor the mentee is provided with the needed information to develop a roadmap to living a better life than they believed was available to them. This is especially true in situations where the circumstances of their birth and/or the cultural, racial, and/or economic disparities dictate their only options in life.

Life is about living, loving, learning, laughing, leading, and living your legacy. Each mentor and mentee live a life that represents what is left behind all while envisioning a world that offers opportunities and possibilities. A life that gives them the permission to take the blinders off and release the scales from their eyes and to see what is there openly and honestly, while being vulnerable to the experience so they both walk away with a greater understanding of self and the knowledge that nothing is impossible. One that says if I can believe and conceive it (visualize it) and do the work, it can become my reality.

Mentoring programs add such value to any relationship, especially school-related ones. Principals and campus leaders will need to consider someone who has the capacity and ability to support the program, coordinate scheduling and program enrollment for those who need it most, find mentors to support the students consistently, and provide the necessary funding and resources to add exposure opportunities.

Dr. Kenneth D. Davis is the CEO/President of Elevation Consulting, Inc. Dr. Davis has had many titles and positions throughout his 31 years in education, beginning in the classroom. He credits his long-lasting career to building relationships, honoring education for all students, growing and developing teachers, and working to build strong instructional and visionary leaders.

TEPSA News, November/December 2022, Vol 79, No 6

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The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 6000 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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