BLOG: My first day as a HEAPS mentor
12 November 2012
I have a confession to make. I know nothing about Xbox. When I revealed this fact to my two HEAPS mentees, just five minutes after our initial introduction, they looked less than impressed. Thankfully we did have lots of other things in common. Like them, I studied at a Teach First school. My parents didn’t go to university and I also didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was 16 years old. I’d also recently seen the new James Bond movie which salvaged my reputation somewhat after the awkward Xbox admission. And so began my first tentative steps into the role of HEAPS mentor.
As a Teach First employee I’m passionate about the work we do. I want to play an active role in working towards a time where every child can achieve, aspire and have access to the same opportunities regardless of where they come from. That’s why I signed up for HEAPS (The Higher Education Access Programme for Schools) a student mentoring scheme run by Teach First. And that’s why I joined over one hundred others members of the community last weekend for the official launch of the London programme.
The day was full of energy and enthusiasm and saw students, parents, teachers and mentors coming together for the first time at St Augustine’s Church of England High School in Kilburn. Parents were still beaming with pride from this summer’s GCSE results and spoke of their children’s hopes for the future. Students soon lost their initial trepidation after ice-breaking sessions and hearing enthusiastic anecdotes from past mentees and mentors.
As a mentor I will be meeting with my mentees every 6 weeks for the next two years, motivating them to work hard and providing support, experience and information to help them set ambitious and informed goals. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and supporting them throughout a crucial point in their lives. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from them too and not just about Xbox!
Vicky Winter, Teach First employee
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