Post: Why it’s important to be a mentor



Why it’s important to be a mentor

Robin Cox discusses how teacher mentors have a potentially life-changing role in encouraging students to be positive influencers in their communities.

Have you thought about becoming a mentor? Teacher mentors have a potentially life-changing role in encouraging students to be positive influencers in their communities, says Essential Resources author and mentoring expert, Robin Cox.
They can transform the lives of students, enabling them to believe in themselves and their abilities to achieve.

He recalls a former student we’ll call Simon. He had a passion for rugby, diet and exercise but was behind in his studies and displaying bullying traits.

“In a mentoring process we set Simon a long-term goal of captaining the rugby team. We talked about what it meant to be a role model leader and a positive influence, and how to achieve realistic academic goals.” 

Over time, Simon became a positive community member, achieving his goal to be rugby team captain and improving academically.

“Where teachers motivate and inspire students, demonstrating the relevance of education, helping them find a life purpose and sharing a love of the subjects they teach, most students will engage and respond positively.”

Teaching is a really challenging role and teachers often feel burdened by the demands of the job.

“Mentoring provides a personal development opportunity for teachers and, in turn, creates a more positive community environment.”

Positive school communities equal less stress for teachers.

“As teachers in the 21st century, we’re preparing students as global citizens. A teacher’s role is becoming more of a facilitator of learning experiences as they guide students to be innovative, creative and critical thinkers.”

Mentoring seriesAbout the series: The Spirit of Mentoring titles are packed with practical suggestions, well-tested activities and inspirational principles for any teacher who has experience or would like to take on mentoring.

About Robin: Robin Cox has been an educator in multicultural environments for 40 years – as a principal, deputy principal, sports coach, board housemaster and life skills facilitator. During that time, he has also mentored about 1000 adolescents. Since 1999 he has trained over 1000 volunteer adult mentors, as well as written and developed mentor training programmes and manuals and a secondary schools peer mentor programme which have been used in both New Zealand and Australia. Robin is married with two adult children. His interests include jogging, tramping, golf, fishing and reading. Robin would enjoy discussing youth mentoring with anyone interested in the field; contact him at or or via Twitter @million2016coxy. He also presents regular podcasts on working with youth, available through his website.


About the author

Robin Cox has been an educator in multicultural environments in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia for 40 years – as a principal, sports coach and developer of pastoral care and youth mentoring programs in New Zealand and Australia. He has also developed peer mentor and peer support programs in schools and trained Student Leaders in these countries. Since 1999 Robin has trained over 800 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and shared many of his personal experiences and insights mentoring over 1000 adolescent boys and girls from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. He used his Churchill Fellowship Award in 2006 to visit 22 youth mentoring programs in Canada and the USA and in 2015 was awarded a Queensland Honorary Fellowship by the Australian Council of Educational Leaders for his contributions to education. In 2012, he was invited to present his Spirit of Mentoring Seminars to five schools in India.


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