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At the risk of opening with a cliché statement- at the heart of the most effective mentor is a burning passion. The fuel for this passion is a desire to convince, not just try to, but actually convince your mentee that you care about their success (be it in the classroom, career, or personal life). I am guilty of believing in, and living by, this cliché. However, despite passion being my primary motivator, I am not unwilling to admit that rationale for mentoring can sometimes transcend this ethically normative line of thinking. I believe that there are also sometimes quantitative, even economic, reasons to validate good mentoring. It’s true- every child that I help to breakdown a sense of ‘science-phobia’ and encourage into the field represents another individual that may potentially bolster the future STEM workforce. Every deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) student that I help to place into the science workforce represents another individual that will not be undervalued or overlooked by society, but rather will be praised as a valued contributor to society. And one never knows what portion of the mentoring relationship is going to be the ‘nugget’ that forever changes the mentee’s life (leading to obtaining a career, becoming a lifelong learner, finding self-confidence, etc.). If passion is the sign of a caring mentor, and life-quality indicators for the mentee are validation for an effective mentor, then the modi operandi are to open doors, provide opportunities, model appropriate behaviors, encourage/support, educate, and jointly share satisfaction in the successes of the mentee.
"Providing the Fuel (And Passing The Flame),"
Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities: Vol. 17
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.rit.edu/jsesd/vol17/iss1/4