Have patience, young grasshopper. Also, revise your drafts.
September 1, 2013 2:51 PM Subscribe
I need someone to mentor me as I learn how to mentor.
posted by pretentious illiterate to education (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a PhD student. This year, I'm making the transition away from leading large undergraduate discussion sections (20+ students) and into much more of a mentoring & advising role. I have seven students total, a mix of juniors and seniors. The seniors are writing theses, the juniors are in small "classes" of 2-3 people each that are also oriented around writing longer research papers. I am the sole supervisor of their work - that is, there is no professor above me - and I will also serve as their official academic advisor, although they will be working closely with others as well. I will grade the juniors' work, but not the seniors'. We will be together for the full year.
It is kind of a dream appointment, and I am very excited. Still, it's a new role for me, and I would love any advice you have on how to cultivate a productive relationship with my students. We've received a lot of advice along the lines of "try not to get too invested" and "they are not your friends," which I get, but I'm looking for some positive and specific models to emulate.
If you had a good relationship with your academic mentor, what did they do for you intellectually, emotionally, practically, etc.? For the seniors in particular, do you have advice on how to guide someone through such a demanding and long-term project? (I'm thinking about giving them copies of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird when we first meet in person next week.) I'm not as interested in field-specific teaching suggestions - although I'm in the humanities, if that matters - as much as I am in your thoughts about interpersonal dynamics, possible pitfalls, best practices, etc.