As a mentor, I needed to be more of an extrovert. Unlike the younger students I mentored previously, the students at J.E.B. Stuart were less likely to raise their hands and more likely to say "no." Thus, I had to constantly ask them if they needed help, and I made sure to go through each step so that they will understand. While mentoring, I realized that many of the students were around the same age as I was and were just like me. I became much more understanding as a result and acted more as a peer rather than a teacher.
As a mentor, I have definitely learned a lot. Before starting at J.E.B. Stuart, I was working with young children at the Patrick Henry Family Shelter. It was quite a change to work in a high school setting with students who were not inclined to learn because many of them have failed the class. As a person, my patience was tested. Even though many students just needed a nudge in the right direction, there were a couple of students that just did not understand. So, I walked them through the problem, explaining every step. Afterwards, I asked them if they had any questions. If not, I would ask them to explain the problem back to me. If so, I would use another method to talk them through the question.
I have been working with the ESOL class in FCPS's remedial Algebra 1 Summer School and it's been an incredible experience. The students are actually genuinely hard workers, and I feel for many of these students, it's the language barrier that caused them to fail the first time. I've learned that though a subject may be simple, teaching it to students who may not have as much of an understanding as you do in it requires a lot of patience and dedication. I've learned how to work with the students on a level so that they understand exactly what I'm tying to explain to them. After merely a week of working with these students, I was able to effectively connect with them and increased the quality of their learning experience. This week definitely humbled me as I saw how these students would come in tired from other jobs or hard home lives and then be put into an Algebra class, where they would be incredibly exhausted but also motivated to keep learning.