most interesting. Three interdependent
processes follow from this action. Terry
begins to know the young person as an
individual, the two of them begin to
develop trust, and they create goals and
discuss how to achieve them. And all
those things center on an opportunity
that extends the student’s horizon.
Spend time with a kid who should try
out for a play or the basketball team or
who aspires to create a truly cool class
project. Study the student’s strengths.
Help that young person set and pursue
goals that reflect those strengths. Learn
from the student’s culture, even as you
invite the student to learn about yours.
Listen for the fears that come with the
hopes. Be there for the whole trip.
3. Bridge the gulf.
The gulf between nowhere and somewhere is wide. Teachers who mentor
for success need to help kids learn to
live in the two worlds that success will
require—the world of their past and
that of their future.
Duane, another of Terry’s students,
talked about how terrified he was in his
first advanced placement class: “I real-
ized every other kid in there had been
groomed for success in that class since
before kindergarten. They were pros at
a language and a school game I didn’t
even know existed.”
By getting to know a student, you’ll
identify that learner’s gulf. The kid who
misses too much school may never have
learned to read. The kid who’s always
late may never have accepted respon-
sibility for setting an alarm clock and
getting up when it rings. Duane didn’t
know how to talk to a teacher. Andre
didn’t know how to sit still.
Mentors need to develop clarity about
what successful people do and how they
think in terms of mastering knowl-
edge—and mastering life. They need to
teach those skills and model them.
Kids who come from far behind can,
with committed support, learn to soar.
In the process, they sometimes crash.
They need someone with a longer vision
and greater wisdom than their own to
be there when that happens.
One boy Terry had reached out to,
Will, was expelled from a prep school
just before winter holidays for stealing
another student’s jacket. Terry guessed
that Will didn’t know how to talk to his
peers in his old neighborhood about
who he was becoming in the new school
in a far-away place. But they’d understand a sharp-looking leather jacket.
Will was devastated. Terry was hurt
and frustrated. “I didn’t tell him how
costly his actions were,” Terry said. “He
already knew. I just said, ‘It will take
very hard work to move beyond the
decision you made when you stole the
jacket. If you want to do that work, I’ll
be here for you.’ ”
If all teachers lived these principles
with kids they care about, we’d change
the world. Consider how Andre’s story
came full circle. Andre graduated from
college and elected to teach in the
poorest school in the low-income
district where he grew up. During his
first teaching year, his students sur-
passed his expectations in terms of their
academic achievement and their
behavior as citizens of the school. Andre
believed they would excel, and he let
them know that. He provided opportu-
nities that extended their limited
perspectives. Andre is now in a doctoral
program preparing to teach teachers.
I;think that’s a very good thing. ;L
Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics
Instruction, Second Edition
SCHOOLS THROUGH ART
Approaches to Meaningful K– 12 Learning
FLAVIA M. C. BASTOS
AND KIMBERLY J. COZIER
How Cognitive Science
Can Save Our Schools
AVAILABLE AT FINE BOOKSTORES
TEACHERS COLLEGE PRESS