Learning mentor jobs involve working with students in schools and colleges, primarily in the United Kingdom, or through private or in-home consulting sessions. Learning mentors are part of the educational support system and work closely with teachers, students and parents to help improve students' academic outcomes. Mentors are similar to tutors and teacher's aides in the United States, and their job opportunities are often found in school settings and tutoring-type centers, but they also often help students address life issues that can impact academics.
Excelling in learning mentor jobs often means being able to balance a variety of duties. These duties can include teaching, social work and student advocacy. It is also important for the mentor to build a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Some students will also need support in building their confidence and self-esteem.
Learning mentors primarily provide support services to educators. Learning mentor jobs are also found with individual families and, sometimes, in a corporate setting. In any setting, the goal of a learning mentor is to help people attain a high level of efficiency and success in what they are trying to accomplish.
One of the first steps in learning mentor jobs is working with educators to identify students who are good candidates for learning mentors' assistance. This requires evaluating why students are under-performing and what can be done to help them improve. The reasons for poor academic performance can include learning, behavioral or family problems that are interfering with school. For example, a student might be the victim of bullying or his parents could be going through a divorce or other life change that is impacting the student's school work.
Depending on the issues identified, the mentor might coordinate outside services for students. These can include linking their families to agencies or professionals that can provide counseling or economic assistance. Duties in some learning mentor jobs will also entail finding school-related activities for students. This might include sports or clubs, the philosophy behind this being that getting students more involved in school will increase their interest in academics.
Working with parents is another important aspect of learning mentor jobs. This aspect of the job includes encouraging parents to get more involved in their child's education. Teaching child behavior modification or parenting skills are two examples of how a learning mentor can help.
Communication skills, confidentiality, tact and the ability to gain the trust of educators and students are all important in learning mentor jobs. Some settings will require working with people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and life circumstances. In some cases, home visits might be required. For these reasons, learning mentors should be non-judgmental and willing to accept different viewpoints or lifestyles.
Qualifications can vary for professional learning mentor jobs. At least a bachelor’s degree in education or another applicable field is often required to work in a school setting. Some educational experience or at least experience in working with children is also desirable.