After my move here, I came to know about mentoring at school. It is a volunteer, could be a parent or a student, who helps a child dealing with issues. The issues are varied, transition mentoring as the child is finding it tough moving into a new school and new country, many issues at school, social issues, mental issues which work against the child at school, etc.
I was very fascinated as it gives the chance to the child to really integrate into the school and enjoy the learning experience. I volunteered and still wait for my turn to come. But I was very sure that it would benefit Prisha greatly. But the school didn't think so. So I have been slowly working my way up, volunteering at school such that I am noticed and people take me more seriously. It helped me boost my sometimes sagging confidence and also helped me understand the school better. Soon enough, made space by being closely with the class teacher, talk on deafness in class such that the class teacher understood what i mean. I was called by the child counselor to discuss issues with Prisha and I stressed her need o have a mentor. A mentor for her would be required for.....
1.Coming from different culture, a mentor would talk about issues which are different from ours.
2. What are the various activities they have at home, outside, vacations etc, could be talked to with Prisha as our activities vary.
3.The games the kids her age play,books they read, movies they watch, etc she could discuss with mentor, that would help her to understand the local kids better and it will help her to play their games and be more part of the group.
4.It would help her to get more exposure to accent different from ours, more exposure to English spoken differently.
5.Understand Prisha better and help me where I lack and need to add.
The mentoring head was looking at a 10th grader but for me I think it made sense to have a mom who can handle her with more maturity. A mom would be able to understand her needs much better, where to push, where not to with Prisha. So I am excited as tomorrow I should hear from her about a possible mentor for her.We shall have a possible interaction and see how best we can fit a mentor and work as a team to help Prisha best. I would stand by to help the mom to give her best possible support.
Other issues that we discussed were....
1. Prisha wasn't given hip-hop despite trying so hard. It would help her making friends from different groups and also boost her confidence and fun.
2. Individual education plan (IEP) was pulled out without our knowledge and it would have helped as they had specific goals ..long term n short term. So if possible, get that back.
3. Coordinate more with her class teacher, her teacher who comes to help 50 mins a day, learning support head, mentor, mentoring head and me so that we can set goals and help Prisha more effectively.
4.If possible know who is going to be her new teacher in the 3rd grade and fill her up on Prisha's needs so that there is no loss of time when we start the new year. By the time I start and they understand her needs , half the year has gone by. So the new teacher should have a meeting with us all so that she is more prepared and there is no lag and lack of understanding.
5. The school doesn't allow exchange of too much information about what is being taught in advance and there is no home work. As a result I know nothing as a mother what she is learning at school. Sometimes she doesn't understand what is being taught and then its like the gap that keeps becoming bigger as she hasn't understood the core. So if I am informed what is being taught at school, we could work on her from home and she goes with some base to build up her understanding on. The teacher could tell me where they had issues and I could work at home with her.It will bridge the gap and the teacher could have support and less frustrations of how to help her.
I think I was very happy with the meeting and its like new lease to us. I look forward to more support from school and more concrete structures of help for Prisha. The mentoring head was pleased to meet me and she realized how hard we have worked and are hands on parents. I am glad I volunteered so much and so it helps to get support, all worth it to help my little fighter !!