"Some youth are very, very disorganized. In fact, most of them are. When the student shows up, I want him to have his knapsack with his schedule book in it and his work that he’s supposed to have done is done. If it’s on disk, he has the disk with him, that sort of thing."
What Do You Think?
(Discuss for 5 minutes.)
- How would you teach this intern to be organized?
The Mentor's Response
- "I ask the intern, ‘What mechanism will work? How can we create a mechanism that you and I can work with that will cause you to produce the desired result?’"
- "And so we work on techniques that will cause you to have your work done when you do arrive: putting tickling reminders in your calendar; teaching yourself to check your calendar at least twice a day—in the morning when you get up and in the afternoon before you go home, so that you can take with you things you need for tomorrow. It’s just a style of presenting yourself."
- "At our first meeting we agree on what we are going to accomplish at the second meeting. There are some deliverables and the deliverables include: you have your notebook, you have your daily log, you have your calendar, and you have a pencil. And basically you show up at the appointed time or call, and when the student fails to do that we sit down and say, ‘OK. . . .’"
- "So we agree on some technique. In one case, it was to talk to the student’s mother and suggest that at 7:00 in the morning, when they roused him out of bed, and at night after dinner, that he check his calendar. And it worked. This intern got reasonably good after four or five false starts at checking his calendar. All of a sudden the intern starts showing up with stuff accomplished and books from the library, and floppy disks ready to get stuck into the computer, that sort of thing."
- "And if you don’t have a little bit of that, you are not going to get there. If you want to be successful, then you are going to have to start holding your end of this bargain up. Occasionally we’ve had a conversation, which is my standard patented, ‘This is a business we are running here and you are an employee, and if you had treated your boss down at the other store this way, you’d be fired right now.’"
- "And we talk about that sometimes. ‘What are your feelings about this? How do you approach this? Does it make any difference to you? Do you care?’"
What Do You Think?
(Discuss for 10 minutes.)
- Why do you think this approach worked in this case?
- Would this approach work for you?
- What teaching behaviors are likely to be effective in this situation?
- Think of two or more reflective questions that would be appropriate.
Report to Whole Group
- One person read the situation.
- Others share an effective mentor response they might use in situations like this one.