Tips From Great Teachers – and Mentors

A lot of being a mentor is being a teacher. While a mentor might not be focused on a single subject, a great mentor shares many of the skills of a great teacher. NPR (National Public Radio) has been doing a series on Great Teachers. This story, featured on January 30, 2016 was titled “How To Be A Great Teacher, From 12 Great Teachers” has a good summary []. Here are 2 of my favorites:

Be Grateful To Your Own Teachers

“I am the product of great teachers. They can show you something that you have never seen before. And awaken that little something inside of you that you’ve never seen before.”

Ainissa Ramirez, mechanical engineering and materials science professor, and science evangelist

Look For The Success Stories

“I know that you cannot save everybody. But if one of them could just go along, complete his education, go to college, and I see him in the future doing something positive with his life, that makes me think that what I was doing is all worthwhile.”

Rodney Carey, high school equivalency teacher, New Orleans

That last quote is part of the philosophy behind the Starfish Initiative []. They use that same philosophy that says you might not change the world, but you can still make a big impact in one life. For context, The Starfish Story ( or Star Thrower):

Once upon a time, there was a man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a small boy approaching. As he got closer, he noticed that the child was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The child paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled man.

To this, the child replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the child bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”


That’s what made me sign up to be a mentor. I hope you will consider it as well.

The Lone Rider

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