A Definition Of Mentoring

by Ami Hicks

The Original Source of the Term?
The concept of mentoring has been with us as long as people have been working together.

The term mentor originated with an individual named Mentor who was a faithful friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus went off to fight the Trojan Wars, he entrusted his son, Telemachus, into Mentor's care. Mentor was a tutor, guide, and protector to the boy over a number of years. The relationship ended as mentorships should, and when Telemachus started searching for his father, the Goddess Athena appeared in the form of Mentor to help him in his search. Thus, the spirit of Mentor lived on after him.
Types of Mentoring:
A mentor can provide a role model within the school organization for both the new and experienced teacher. There are many types of mentoring within an organization. In education there is induction mentoring to include teachers new to the profession and teachers with minimal experience returning to the profession. Mentoring can also benefit experienced teachers new to a school district, building, a department, grade level, or subject area. While the primary focus of this network is in the training of the adult, another level of mentoring would involve teacher/student combinations.

Mentoring is the process by which individuals share their experience, knowledge, and skills with a protege to promote their personal and professional growth. Mentoring can also facilitate change, improvement and professional growth within teaching. Change is inevitable if the mentoring program is to meet the needs of the teachers it serves.

*Source: Nejedlo, R. J. (1987). What the literature tells us about mentoring. Thresholds in Education. 13(3).