So, I’ve been taking part in my university’s school/college mentoring programme for I think over a month now. I chose to be placed in an visual arts technology specialty college for 14-18 year olds.
Initially, I loved it. It was a brand new, innovative, creative college, and I loved everything it stood for and aimed to be. I wished it had been around when I had been choosing a college. It’s a very beautiful college, very advanced and technology focused – perfect for creative, techy types. Even though I’ve grown up in this digital new age and grown as the technology surrounding has, I still felt a little overwhelmed at all the shiny tech around the college!
Anyway, initially, I loved it, especially as the teachers spoke to us and explained their ethic. They had a ‘no shouting’ policy, which I thought was pretty cool. Students were allowed to have their phones out in class, and even listen to their music through their headphones as they worked. All this was very new to me. It was very chilled and laid-back.
But, after having my first few days of being a volunteer mentor there, I came to realise that it was too chilled and laid-back. The students were not bollocked for being late, they just waltzed into class as they pleased and the teachers didn’t bat an eyelid. They refused to work or listen to the teachers; the majority of the lessons I sat in was spent listening to the teachers repeatedly telling the students off and trying to get them to listen to them and do the work they were assigned to do. It made it very hard for me to try and talk and help the students with their work when they were refusing to engage with it in the first place.
I came into this programme wanting to help students and give them the support they needed, but I felt like I just was not gaining it at this school. I know they’re teenagers and a bit of rowdiness is to be expected – hell we all went to high school, we know what it’s like – but this was a whole different ball park to me, I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it, and it actually left me feeling so upset and stressed out I emailed our own lead mentor who runs the programme having a mental breakdown. A few other girls I know on the programme who were also doing it at the same place I was, were having far better, more enjoyable experiences, and I was happy for them, but it upset me even more. I hated the fact I even felt that way about the whole experience, and that just upset me even more haha!
I came to the decision that I couldn’t continue on with it in that school anymore. I’m grateful for the experience, even though it wasn’t the best, but everything’s a learning curve at the end of the day. We learn, and we grow from it. I’m currently in the middle of seeing if I can be placed in a different school or college because I’d put so much work in already with this programme, I didn’t want to give it up. I’m not a giver – upper. So along with my uni mentors trying to see if they can place me elsewhere, they also suggested going off my own back and emailing other schools and colleges that are closer to me that I can volunteer at and gain experience at. (Because the ones through the programme are just schools based in Salford around the university, and it would be so much easier if I was able to do it closer to home.)
So, fingers crossed I can get re-placed somewhere and continue with the programme, rather than having to give it up and throw all the training I’ve done in preparation for it out the window! Staying positive about the whole situation instead of letting it get me down – it’s all part of the experience, all part of life!
Hope you’re all having a lovely day! Stay positive 🙂