I challenge you to mentor a student and help them to really understand a challenging concept. Do it for just one semester – I bet you will want to do it for longer.
Just about everyone over the age of four or five knows how to use a paintbrush and some paint. Kids understand the concept of painting a wall – dip paintbrush in paint, and spread on wall. Not so difficult, and even at only four, they get it.
They get the concept, but not the finesse. Understanding the concept isn’t enough. It takes practice to master the subject.
This summer I had a wonderful experience mentoring three very smart and motivated high school interns. They got a chance to try out a number of skills, and to experience the difference between high school and the real world.
Yet, I’m pretty sure, I got more out of it than they did. It was quite a humbling, amusing, and patience-building experience. I actually had one of my interns paint a wall, and he somehow managed to get paint on the middle of the office ceiling. Really??? But he did develop a lot of new skills (in other areas).
In the WSJ this morning, there was a great article titled “Repetitive Work in Math? That is Good“. The article highlights the value of homework to practice a concept and excel at it. But kids to need to go further and gain actual real-world experience through internships.
This is where industry, and experienced mentors, can help out. You can provide real-world opportunities to help students solidify their understanding of a challenging concept. I highly encourage every employer to take on an intern every semester, and to give them the chance to practice and develop a skill.
I challenge you to mentor a student and help them get some experience. Do it for just one semester – I bet you will want to do it longer.
Here are just a few programs that Spike Aerospace works with:
- Apprentice Learning – 8th graders
- Internships.com – high school and college students
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Home for Little Wanderers
And a few more: