The Power of Passionate Mentoring: Mentoring: The Cycle of Caring It is often said that a mentor is a trusted friend, counselor, or teacher who provides advice to less-experienced individuals as they enhance their education, build their professional networks, and advance their careers. A mentor is more than that. A mentor is a person who accompanies and provides continuing care ... Features
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Features  |   February 01, 2007
The Power of Passionate Mentoring: Mentoring: The Cycle of Caring
Author Notes
  • Dolores Battle, is professor of speech-language pathology and senior advisor to the president for equity and campus diversity at Buffalo State College. Currently Battle is working in a networking and mentoring program at Buffalo State College to aid retention of minority faculty. Contact her at www.buffalostate.edu
    Dolores Battle, is professor of speech-language pathology and senior advisor to the president for equity and campus diversity at Buffalo State College. Currently Battle is working in a networking and mentoring program at Buffalo State College to aid retention of minority faculty. Contact her at www.buffalostate.edu×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Features
Features   |   February 01, 2007
The Power of Passionate Mentoring: Mentoring: The Cycle of Caring
The ASHA Leader, February 2007, Vol. 12, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.12022007.12
The ASHA Leader, February 2007, Vol. 12, 12. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.12022007.12
It is often said that a mentor is a trusted friend, counselor, or teacher who provides advice to less-experienced individuals as they enhance their education, build their professional networks, and advance their careers. A mentor is more than that. A mentor is a person who accompanies and provides continuing care for an individual along life’s journey.
The term “mentor” has its roots in Greek mythology. According to Homer’s Odyssey, Telemachus was born the day that Odysseus was called to engage in the Trojan War. Fearing that he would be gone for many years, he left his trusted friend Mentor, or Mentês, to guide the development of his son. Mentor was given the responsibility to guide Telemachus from childhood to adulthood so that he would be ready to take his place as the ruler of Ithaca. During Odysseus’ 20-year journey in the Trojan War, Mentor became Telemachus’ teacher, counselor, and coach by building a relationship based on affection and trust.
When Odysseus had not returned from the war after 20 years, Telemachus set out with Mentor to determine whether his father had survived. Mentor accompanied Telemachus on a 10-year journey in search of Odysseus, providing him guidance, encouragement, and eventually saving his life on at least two occasions. The 30-year relationship between Telemachus and the wise and loving Mentor set the standard for modern mentoring relationships. Our understanding of the importance of mentoring is based on the relationship between Mentor and Telemachus, mentor and mentee.
Lifelong Impact
Mentors pass along their wisdom, guidance, insight, and understanding of life’s experiences to facilitate the education of the mentees and to encourage them to grow and reach their own goals. Mentoring relationships can have a lasting impact on mentees throughout their lives. When the relationship reaches fruition, the impact that the mentor has had on the mentee can be recognized and acknowledged by the desire to pass the commitment of care to another generation. The mentee becomes the mentor, thus ensuring that the cycle of care in mentoring will continue and have an important place in the lives of others to follow. Mentors have found that by enriching the life of someone else, they greatly enrich their own lives as well.
One way to help build the next generation of communication sciences professionals is through the ASHA STEP (Student to Empowered Professional) Mentoring Program. Volunteering as a STEP mentor helps you to recognize the impact that mentors have had on your life. As an example, I would not have known about the potential of a career in speech-language pathology had it not been for my mentor at the University of Massachusetts, the late Inez Haggerty. Nor would I have recognized my potential as a leader in this profession had it not been for the mentoring and guidance received from Rolland J. Van Hattum, former president of ASHA, and Eleanor Burgess, former director of speech-language pathology for the Rochester, NY, public schools. It is because of the dedication of these individuals—who shared their wisdom and passion for the profession and for leadership—that I continue the cycle of caring by mentoring students through the STEP program and other formal mentoring programs on my campus and throughout the profession.
Care Through Life’s Journey
Students I have mentored are enrolled in doctoral programs in the discipline, have successful private practices, and have reached positions of administrative leadership in universities and ASHA. My greatest sense of satisfaction as a mentor comes when former mentees become mentors. A faculty member I mentored in a grant-writing project became a mentor to others in the same project. A former student mentee is successfully mentoring high school students, encouraging them to enroll in college and to seek a career in speech-language pathology. Mentoring is truly continuing the cycle of care through life’s journey. It is one of the greatest responsibilities and joys of professional life.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
February 2007
Volume 12, Issue 2