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Gamliel Institute
Guidelines for Mentors of Students
January 1, 2020

Thank you for volunteering to help one or more students of the Gamliel Institute by mentoring them as they work to complete their student project, a requirement for students to earn the Gamliel Insititute Chevrah Kadisha Certificate of Completion.  Student projects may involve organizing or education, as well as more academic pursuits. These projects are intended to serve two primary goals: (a) improving students’ leadership skills and/or knowledge, and (b) creating contributions and resources for others in the field.

This document attempts to clarify our expectations of mentors and to set guidelines for appropriate interactions between our students and the mentors who guide and instruct them.

If you have any questions or at any time need clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact our Executive Director, David Zinner (410–733–3700 or info@jewish-funerals.org), who will either help you immediately or refer you to the appropriate Staff person who is most knowledgeable in the area in which you need help.

 

Role of the Mentor

The mentor is a person who acts as a resource, guide, and teacher for specific students on specific projects or assignments.  The mentor’s job is not to do the work for the student, but rather, to help the student excel at using their own skills in accomplishing the necessary tasks.  Mentors are expected to join with students in brainstorming as they work through all of the aspects of planning and executing their project. In addition, mentors should help direct students to existing resources and do appropriate literature searches, guide students to an appropriate level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and help students to clarify their audience.

The mentor:

  • provides the opportunity for students to wrestle with ideas and get honest yet helpful feedback;
  • guides the thinking processes of the students as they figure the implementation of a project or assignment that might be more complex than they have ever attempted;
  • acts as an instructor as well as a resource for information, contacts, and experience for the students; and
  • is available to help the student on a regular basis throughout their project or assignment.

Mentors are expected to meet with their students often, possibly weekly, depending on the student, the schedule, and the specifics of the assignment or project. Mentors are expected to report to Gamliel Institute Staff on a regular basis as to the progress, problems, and successes of their students.  These reports should be uploaded on a regular basis, as PDF files stored in a Google Drive (address given to mentors when they are assigned to a student).  Each report should include the date, the student’s name, the mentor’s name, and the details of that specific report.  These do not have to be extensive; they are to keep everyone up to date on the health of the student/mentor relationship as well as the status of the student’s project or assignment. They should be written in English and highlight issues or problems of concern to the mentor, as well as accomplishments and any outstanding achievements.

 

Standards of Conduct

Mentors should make themselves available to students on a weekly basis for approximately one hour, or possibly more often if the situation requires it. In this regard, mentors should set definite boundaries (explicitly stating when students can call them) so students understand that mentors have lives and cannot “mother” the student at all hours. Students might need guidance, but the student is to do the work while the mentor is only helping to guide them to do that appropriately and effectively.

Mentor communication should be clear and concise, yet kind and respectful, with explicit indication that students are to ask for clarification if they do not understand. The student/mentor relationship should be relaxed but bounded. It is a specific teacher/student arrangement and should be honored as such.

The relationship between mentor and student must be respectful at all times. All students and mentors have access to Gamliel Institute Staff at all times if they feel threatened or in any way uncomfortable in this relationship.

Mentors should contact Gamliel Staff if they are uncertain about any aspect of the relationship or the project or assignment itself. In addition, mentors must remember that our students are all highly educated adults and must be treated as equals in every way.  The mentor is not superior to the student, nor the other way around. We are all students and teachers for each other.  This mentoring relationship is a means to offer the student a helping hand from someone who has more experience.