How to be the best mentor ever!

How to be the best mentor ever!

By Kris Maze

How to be the best mentor ever! Kris WITS post mentoring teens May 2023

One of the most rewarding components of the craft of writing is having the ability to share it with one other author.  Many younger writers write in isolation however may gain advantage from having an older, extra skilled author step in for a bit steering. It might speed up their writing means and assist them see writing as a profession.

Perhaps you’ve time to take a youthful author beneath the wing? Maybe you’ve labored with pupil writing golf equipment or volunteered at the library the place you work together with teen writers and need to know extra methods to join with this elusive demographic.  Sound attention-grabbing?  Read on!

Becoming a mentor, whether or not in a proper sense or just as an act of being current in a teen’s life, also can be very rewarding for the mentor.

How to be the best mentor ever!

Keep an open thoughts

Teens love to use shock issue.  Always have and at all times will.  It’s a technique they will sniff out whether or not you’re going to actually hold round lengthy sufficient for his or her actual persona to come out and play with writing. Casual swearing, speak about intercourse, medication, and music-you-probably-don’t-like might be a manner a teen is testing you, to see in case you are open to subjects that they need to write about. To see if you’ll improve or hinder their artistic spirit.

Establishing boundaries is necessary however hear to them first. If an adolescent is simply too off matter or the topic makes you uncomfortable, inform them so. Define the job you hope to accomplish by providing what you can speak about: writing, modifying, discovering a strong story line. Guiding the dialog again to these targets might help construct a productive and significant mentorship.

Be conscious of dangerous days

The teen mind and emotional set is stuffed with fast-moving hormones. It could behove you to keep in mind that they might be well mannered and put collectively someday and only a catastrophe the subsequent. Show curiosity of their state of being, however proceed to concentrate on writing and see the place that goes.  Having plenty of emotion can be very nice on paper.  Try directing them to write about the dangerous day they might have had by the eyes of a personality.

If your mentee could be very upset and unsettled, maybe ask them to write a journal entry. Offer them to write a brain-dump and get it all-on-paper which they will then shred or safely burn in some steel waste basket.

But if they’re overwhelmed, simply being current could be sufficient.  Always counsel speaking to professionals for extra assist if the kiddo you might be mentoring is consistently down or reveals indicators of not bouncing again.

It’s okay to ask if they’ve a trusted grownup to speak to already.  They could supply that they’ve a therapist or that they get life recommendation from their aunt, neighbor, pastor, or one other grown-up of their life.  Feel it out and allow them to know you care however maintain it about writing.

Wait and wait some extra

Processing takes time. Teens could tear into a subject or want to assume it by. One of the most necessary points of studying is time.  Let them assume and write as they be taught their very own writing type and course of.


The different most necessary a part of studying and of an excellent mentorship is getting to know your mentee.  Listening is just not solely listening to what they are saying, but it surely’s additionally about how they are saying it.

Does their greeting sound clipped and terse? Did their phrases match the tone of your dialog? Is their physique language screaming “I JUST BROKE UP WITH MY PERSON!” when they’re saying one thing informal about what they ate for lunch? Pay consideration with all of your senses and your mentee will recognize your enter extra.

Use good communication abilities

Repeat again what you assume you heard.  When working by troublesome subjects or just getting to know your mentee, use good communication abilities.  A easy one is to parrot again a sentence or two that they let you know, to see should you understood appropriately.


                “So, you mean to say that being even 1 minute late to first hour means you get a detention, but if it is third hour, you can be late  10 minutes and the teacher doesn’t care. And you don’t think that’s fair?”

                “You like to wear Crocs but only with sweatpants. Did I hear that right?”

                “There shouldn’t be fruit on pizza. Ever. Not even pineapple. Is that correct?”

Ask clarifying questions. There are many causes to ask for clarification. Have you skilled these when somebody went a bit additional to develop your dialog?

Try open-ended questions that permit the individual you might be speaking to converse in any path, together with methods you didn’t anticipate.

  • Sometimes what the teen says can be left up to interpretation.
  • Or possibly they’re utilizing slang that you really want to be clear about what it truly means.  Remember the dangerous that’s good, or is the good is dangerous? (Thank you, Michael Jackson. I’ll ceaselessly be confused.)
  • When the different individual is aware of that you just heard them can be magnified whenever you additionally care sufficient to be sure you perceive them.


“Could you tell me more about ____?”

“I want to be sure I heard you correctly. Could you walk me through that explanation again?”

“That must have been a difficult experience. (Or exciting experience, or scary experience…) What did that mean for you?”

Ask extending questions. Asking prolonged questions is a good way to present you might be listening and . Simply choose a element you marvel about and ask for extra data.

Try utilizing primary informative points to uncover, who, what, when, the place, should you’re unsure what to ask about. The dialog can take attention-grabbing turns whenever you begin digging a bit extra.

Share about your self much less.

We tend to get enthusiastic about sharing about ourselves after we begin a mentorship. We need to speak about what we have now executed and what we are able to educate and what we take into consideration our mentee’s scenario. But typically it’s higher to simply sit again and study the individual we’re working with extra organically. 

It isn’t spectacular to teenagers to speak about your accolades, and it might end result straight away eyeroll.  Even if there are authentic causes a teen can profit from you, the relationship ought to come first. It’s simply how they (and plenty of adults) function.  They could have severe targets for writing, but when they don’t join with you as an individual, even the best writing recommendation and suggestions will fall flat.

Try not to speak about your self an excessive amount of at the begin of your mentoring. And after that normally provided that requested after you have been requested for particular particulars. Remember mentoring can be very efficient when the focus is on the mentee.

Final Thoughts

As writers, we have a tendency to be introverts and conceal away in our minds. This could make constructing a strong mentorship troublesome and taxing.  Perhaps these ideas might help facilitate a priceless studying expertise for each the author and the tutor.

Collaborating with younger minds is an invigorating and rewarding expertise that I hope many people can share with others.  Mentorships assist youthful writers and impart our expertise to them, however wealthy rewards are ready for the mentor too. It is edifying to put money into a teen, and much more so should you let the course of unfold with a mentee in the focus.

Have you labored with a teen earlier than?  Have you tutored a teen in writing their tales?  Tell us a rewarding expertise you had or share who helped kind your love of writing.

About Kris

How to be the best mentor ever! BW Kris Maze headshot

Kris Maze works in schooling, educating Spanish by tales. She writes for numerous publications together with Practical Advice for Teachers of Heritage Learners of Spanish and award-winning weblog Writers in the Storm the place she can also be a bunch. Maze printed a YA dystopian novel by a small press in the summer season of 2020. Lately, she has been coming into and inserting in writing competitions, equivalent to NYC Midnight’s Short Story and Micro fiction contests. You can discover her Sci-fi, dystopian, YA collection, this summer season and sustain along with her writer occasions at her website.

Check out her new Sister-Site the place the fun-filled horror and heart-felt chills creep by the darker aspect of her YA works.

A recovering grammarian and hopeless wanderer, Kris enjoys studying, enjoying violin and piano, and spending time outside.

And sometimes, she vegetation seeds.

How to be the best mentor ever! Seeds planted spring 2023 for WITS

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