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Why Educators Are Trusted Mentors

One of the most important qualities of a teacher is the ability to connect and manage a large group of children in one room. Teachers face challenges each day and work with such a wide range of personalities that most educators find that the most efficient way to manage the classroom is to connect with the children.

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Teachers spend up to 1,000 hours per year instructing students, all of which takes place in just 9 months; that is a lot of time together! Consider that there are only 8,760 hours in a calendar year with an average of 2,920 of those spent sleeping, and you start to realize the impact educators have. If you think about it, teachers have a huge influence on people during the most formative years of their lives.

So, while a teacher may start in the profession simply because they enjoy working with children, they must also realize they will become a very important figure in children's lives. The way a teacher interacts with a child, enforces classroom rules and provides stability in the classroom has a huge impact not only the education of children, but also in positive social development.

The way a teacher delivers criticism can largely impact how a child learns to accept feedback and apply themselves to future work. Different methods of teaching, such as having students work in groups, aids children in learning to communicate, problem solve and work as a team. It is also essential for teachers to collaborate with other faculty and staff to ensure that children are receiving the same messages, structure and stability throughout schools and districts.

For years, research has shown that the quality of teachers is the most powerful school-related factor of student success. Teachers have such an important role with children, that they often become a figure of authority and trust, sometimes resulting in children confiding in them about concerns at home. By law, teachers are mandatory reporters, required to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect to authorities, as they may be some of the only adults, other than parents, to come in contact with children on a regular basis.

Students may also reach out to teachers with social concerns such as bullying, as well as lessons and materials that they have questions about or do not fully understand. And, of course, children, like most people, feel more comfortable talking about vulnerabilities with people they trust and who will not judge them.

Teachers should work at establishing a trusting, positive relationship with all students, again forcing them to work with people of all personalities. Being positive mentors and knowing a student's weakness and strengths allows teachers to push students to their maximum potential and celebrate with them in their success.

To find additional information on ways to be a mentor to your students, check out the resources listed below:
http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/09/30/ctq_long_mentor.html
http://www.creativitypost.com/education/educators_as_mentors_motivation_and_expectations
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may99/vol56/num08/The-Good-Mentor.aspx