So much of the power of Untapped comes from our mentors holding students accountable, alleviating some pressure from parents and teachers. It’s helpful when someone who has a different type of authority in a student’s life is holding them accountable and encouraging them academically. However, mentors are just one of four pillars our students need to succeed!
Mentors hold students accountable differently than other people in a student’s life. When encouragement is coming from someone who holds a peer status rather than a parental status, students often feel more motivated to complete work. The smaller age gap makes them feel comfortable, and students often believe their mentors can relate to what they’re going through on a personal level. This is so powerful; this is what we do.
Students cannot achieve academic growth and success solely through Untapped and their mentors. Mentor involvement in a student’s academic life can prevent some tense conversations at home, but it does not replace parental accountability. Without parents overseeing and holding students accountable to finish homework, follow their lists, etc., the work that mentors do isn’t as impactful. Mentors and parents can tackle obstacles together! Parents are one of the most important pillars in the foundation of student success. Mentors only see students once a week; parents can support their students in-person, every single day.
Students who actively put effort into communicating with their teachers build valuable student/teacher relationships. When this relationship is in place, the teacher may have higher expectations of the student, and the student often rises to the occasion since they don’t want to let the teacher down. When students feel that active, positive support, they thrive. Just as a bad relationship with a teacher can result in a student disliking (and doing poorly in) a class, a good relationship with a teacher often has a parallel effect. When a student likes and respects a teacher, they frequently retain more information in that class, stay on top of work, and try harder.
Personal responsibility. We say it so much it almost loses meaning, but it’s at the core of student success. Students won’t make significant progress until they choose to be invested in their education. Mentors, parents, and teachers can all help hold students accountable, but a student has to want to succeed in order to make a change, inside and outside the classroom. Increased student self-discipline is a sign of success, and will help them tremendously through school and beyond. It’s our job as mentors, parents, and teachers to support and help our students see, and reach, their highest potential. Until they really try, we can’t influence their lives as positively or effectively.
When each of these pillars is in place and working together, we see our students, even those who struggle with certain subject areas, find more success in “playing the game” of school. When a student lacks one of these pillars, it’s harder for the other support systems to carry the extra weight. In an ideal world, these four supports are always in place. Realistically, it’s up to us to help encourage students and provide support from every angle!