Mentor Lessons

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Lessons Learned Over the Years as a Mentor

PFORCE Class at American Indian Public Charter School
• All boys want to learn, don’t let them fool you.
• All boys want to have fun
• At the start act like a man without having to prove it to them. They will see the man in you and from that point on you can gain their respect as you give it.
• Some boys resent or disrespect female teachers due to their culture, abuse at home, or no male role models
• Boys will be boys-they will get in trouble time and time again. The key is to give them the proper incentives to want to do their work and behave in class and outside of class.
• Restorative justice works once you gain the trust of the boys.
• Maintain a positive outlook on all of them. They need to
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Don’t let foul language or boisterous boys intimidate you. They are still boys with all of the vulnerabilities that go with that age.
• Special lunch with two guests once a month for student of exceptional behavior and work. You will be surprised how little gestures mean can mean so much to them.
• Code of the streets (there is a law of the urban area)
• Convincing parents is not easy. Some parents did not have a good or positive experience when they were in school. In some cases they may even be jealous of the attention and support you giving their child. In other cases, parents are the cause of their child’s behavior.
• Boy is not a man. Don’t let the boys behave as though they are on your level. Never stoop down to their level. Your primary aim is to prepare them for adulthood. Be that model for them, but don’t take any abuse or disrespect.
• Adult male support of your efforts is important. If you can get a friend, colleague, custodian, office clerk or any adult male to visit, speak, share their story with them, it will go a long
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Most of the boys I worked with in time, shared their story with me. I soon became an advocate for them with administration, teachers, and probation officers and judges. I kept it real with them as far as indicating to them the importance of accountability-Do the crime, you must do the time.
• Boy saw a friend killed. Many of the boys I have taught had to deal with trauma and violence or a regular basis. One day one of my boys came to school drunk and out of sorts. I was called. I took him out and as we talked (mostly him) it eventually led to an incident the day before where one of his close friends was killed by a gang. He escaped with his life only because he was able to leave the area hiding in his cousin’s car as he drove him out of the neighborhood.
• Boy killed his father. One of my boys that I would take home from time to time was the product of young divorced parents. His father was very hard on he and his younger brother. One day, my student shot and killed his father. He was seventeen years old. When we use the term at-risk we must be clear that this is an emergency. It is time for many who have been on the sidelines to get involved.
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