What Are Alumni Mentorship Programs?
Alumni mentorship began as a temporary strategy to support students and teachers during their online learning but has now become a widely accepted norm by schools worldwide. During the early spring of 2020, an Oakland-based school hired alumni to participate in Academic Mentor Programs to boost student engagement. Mentors worked with students individually and in groups via live video chats to help them learn better. After the program was immensely successful, it was decided that mentors would be available to help in-person in the following semester.
This article explains how the alumni mentorship program worked and how it strengthened student engagement during online classes. Also, find out how top schools in Chennai, like Babaji Vidhyashram School, focus on alumni mentorship programs for better student engagement.
The Initial Step: Hiring Mentors
Alumni were approached via email and telephone as part of the Alumni Mentorship program mentioned above. Specific criteria also had to be met to be eligible for the program. These included:
- Mentors had to be graduates or enrolled in college classes before applying.
- They also had to demonstrate skills related to supporting students in core subjects like literature, math, and science.
- Additionally, mentors were expected to exhibit great character as they were responsible for developing students' academic and social skills.
Aside from all these criteria, the school authorities were also expected to pay mentors compensation, which reflected their value to the school. Approximately 20 alumni mentors were hired as part of the alumni mentorship program, with at least one alum helping a teacher in each class. Some alumni were even required to attend every class, every day.
What Was The Alumni Mentorship Program Like?
This Alumni Mentorship program was designed to support students who had with difficulties with core academic concepts in Math and Science. With the pandemic exacerbating challenges, alumni mentors provided invaluable assistance.
A majority of Alumni mentors devoted their time to helping teachers every day. The mentors helped struggling students understand advanced concepts in mathematics and science. Others accompanied students on trips or assisted them with getting accustomed to the school environment. Mentors helped students regain their focus and helped them adjust to a classroom environment they had missed during the pandemic. Mentors maximized the student's learning, which would have been impossible for the teachers alone to accomplish.
Mentor Training at the beginning of the year focused on establishing responsibilities and expectations and building trust between students, teachers, and mentors. The mentors were offered professional assistance in conducting small group instruction and student engagement programs in the later semesters.
Positive Impacts Of Alumni Mentorship Programs
The Alumni mentorship program had been immensely successful that faculty and students started expressing their gratitude for positively impacting their lives. Several students talked about how their mentors helped them improve their grades and mentally supported them. Additionally, teachers were pleasantly surprised by the excellent support they received from their mentors. In a story, a teacher described how she set up literature circles in the classrooms with the help of her mentor. Another teacher appreciated the effort of mentors who helped her reduce her work time by almost 15 hours per week.
The Alumni mentorship program's immense success was a clear testament to its positive effects. Though the data was largely anecdotal, there is no denying that mentorship programs improved student engagement and increased academic support in the classrooms.
This experience has already inspired some top schools in Chennai, like Babaji Vidhyashram School to establish Alumni Mentorship programs in their campuses. This strategy will certainly enhance student engagement and learning.
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