Monthly Archives: January 2013

A recap on last night’s #MentorNextGen Twitter chat

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday evening for #mentornextgen! Last night, icouldbe hosted a Twitter Chat with our new partner AT&T Aspire and we were thrilled by the participation.  We chatted about volunteering through your employer, what motivates you as a mentor, the benefits of online mentoring, what the future holds for the next generation’s workforce, and much more.

If you weren’t able to participate, but are interested in following the conversation, check out the Storify we created for last night’s chat – it is easy to follow and will give you a run down of the topics we discussed:

http://storify.com/icouldbeorg/mentornextgen

Have a response to one of the questions asked last night? You may have missed the live chat, but we’d still love to hear your stories, thoughts, and experiences with mentoring. Leave your answers in the comment section below. And we hope you’ll be able to join us for our next chat!

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Please join us for an icouldbe Twitter Chat with AT&T Aspire

Please join the discussion for a Twitter Chat next week to celebrate National Mentoring Month! On Wednesday, January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST, log on to Twitter, follow @icouldbeorg and jump in the conversation using the following hashtag:

#MentorNextGen

Our co-host will be one of our newer partners, AT&T Aspire (follow them on Twitter at @ATTAspire). AT&T Aspire is a high school success and workforce readiness initiative that is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments dedicated to helping high school students succeed.

Several AT&T employees who are volunteering their time as mentors to hundreds of students around the country will also join the chat, sharing their thoughts and experiences.

The chat will last one hour, during which time we’ll cover topics including: corporate volunteerism and online mentoring, mentoring the next generation’s workforce, personal mentoring stories, and more.

It’s simple and easy to join, just:

  1. Mark your calendars for January 30th at 8:00 p.m. EST
  2. Log in to Twitter at the beginning of the chat and search for #MentorNextGen. This will keep you in the loop of what others are saying and what questions are being discussed.

If you have any questions about next week’s chat, don’t hesitate to contact us – leave a message in the comment section of this blog post or reach out to us on Twitter!

Thank Your Mentor Day: California Teacher Thanks icouldbe Mentors

On behalf of Hoover High School’s Academy of Information Technology (AOIT), I would like to wish all of the mentors in the icouldbe program a happy National Mentoring Month, and extend our thanks for all the time you put in helping our students. Our Academy has been part of the icouldbe program for over five years, and each year we have had 80-100 students participate in the program. As a College and Career Technical Educator, the icouldbe program has been instrumental in helping me to ensure that my students have a solid background in what it takes to choose, prepare for, and be successful in a career. The icouldbe curriculum has helped open doors for my students to view the larger world outside of their immediate community. The activities they complete have the greatest benefits in the areas of  communication, research, and planning.

Only a small percentage of my students are native English speakers. Most are currently English Learners, and many others are reclassified as English proficient. This makes communication, both verbal and written, a challenge. icouldbe offers these students a way to work on their language skills, especially learning to move from a casual language register to a more professional one. Likewise, students are able to improve both their academic and professional vocabulary which eventually helps them both in resume writing and in interviewing skills. The online and anonymous nature of the mentoring program helps these students to get comfortable quickly as they are less likely to feel they are being judged or put on the spot when they are not face to face with someone they do not know. This often helps the mentees build a better working relationship with their mentors more quickly.

Besides being non-native English speakers, the majority of my students are likely to be the first person in their families to go to college.  Having no experience in their families to draw on makes the varied experiences and stories of the mentors extremely valuable.  In addition, the goal setting activities, college research tools, and planning guides provided in the curriculum help to make the decision to go to college more real for the students.  Further, there are excellent tools for exploring and preparing for careers.  One of the beginning skills that the students often have not previously completed is resume writing.  They all start out with a very basic template to complete the exercise.  Over the course of the year, they take these barebones resumes and learn to add “power” words and language to them to make them better.  Many students begin to take up volunteer opportunities to add to the experience sections on their resumes as they learn how important this can be.

Mentors, although I know working online as opposed to working face to face has some distinct advantages, I also wish you could personally see the difference you make in many of these students’ lives.  You may not see it in their writing, but I have all the students complete an oral “exit interview” about their icouldbe experience.  The last question I ask each of them is what they would say to you if they met you face to face, and they invariably want to thank you for taking some time out of your lives to work with them.  I would like to thank you as well.

-Bryan Voeltner, Hoover High School in San Diego, California

Photo Credit: Ben Fredericson on Flickr's Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Ben Fredericson on Flickr’s Creative Commons

Bryan Voeltner is a teacher at Hoover High School in San Diego, California. He has worked there for 18 years and helped to found its small learning community, the Academy of Information Technology.

National Mentoring Month Spotlight: Bronx Teacher Shares icouldbe Experience

MS 254 in Bronx, New York would like to thank icouldbe for allowing our students to be a part of such an enlightening program for a second year. We have evolved from 30 students participating last year to 175 students participating this year. icouldbe provides an opportunity to empower students to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. There is not one fix for any student when trying to develop a connection between school and the future accomplishments within an adolescent mind, but icouldbe is the right fit for many students in our program. The students are developing skills that will allow them to make informed decisions about the path their future will take.

Students are reading, writing, and thinking about real life desires and possibilities they used to only associated with others. With the help of icouldbe, the students can now place themselves in those roles. Mentors are explaining how they use math and science as well as language and social studies in their daily lives and in their careers. Based on the conversations students are having with their mentors, the students are developing new ideas.

The mentors are phenomenal! If you are a mentor reading my blog post, let me thank you for giving your time and care to your mentees. I appreciate your answering their posts with feedback that helps them formulate goals that are attainable and make a connection between academics and the student’s chosen path. I was really impressed when one of our mentors reached out with concern about their mentee who had lost interest in posting. I was able to locate the student and discuss her mentor’s concern. Before, she felt like it was just a school commitment, but now she knows how much her mentor truly cares about her, her wellbeing, and her success.

icouldbe helps our students think about their dream and see their dream in order to live it.

-Ms. Frazier, MS 254 in Bronx, New York

Ms. Frazier is an educator from Conway, South Carolina currently teaching in the Bronx. She has 24 years of experience and is a life-long learner.Image