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  • Arlo Mercia

Mentoring Month

Mentoring has been a bit of a theme in my life recently. At the school where I work (no, I still haven't given up the day-job), apart from teaching various subjects, I am in charge of all the careers education and events for 700 students. Last week I ran a program where the students could access video-conference career mentoring from industry volunteers. Most of them really enjoyed it. I joked to the students that if something like that had been available when I was their age I might not be where I am now. They thought that funny, but it isn't really. The only career advice I was given was: 'You're good at helping other students with their homework, why don't you become a teacher?' Back then, unlike now, there was no consideration given to my personality, interests or aspirations. Even going to university and becoming a teacher was resisted by my father, and the school Principal had to intervene to persuade him. My desire to be a writer never saw the light of day.

So I here I am, decades later, finally writing away, but doing so on top of an exhausting full-time job (however much I might value individual students, putting 700 teenagers together in one place is always a fraught undertaking!). And after spending so much time helping and mentoring others, I have come across someone I think might be a useful mentor for me. I have signed up for an hour of coaching with Mark Malatesta of 'The Bestselling Author' at So far I have been impressed with how thorough and professional he has been. Because of the time difference between here and the US I'll have to book my session during the school-holidays, because it looks like being a 4am phone call.

We are so lucky these days that technology makes it easy to access experts all around the world, via phone or video-conference - so mentors are easier to find and easier to contact. But that doesn't detract from the enormous value of supportive friends and family. So, who is playing a mentoring role in your life at the moment? Let them know that you value it! I'm excited, and next month I'll let you know how I go. Take care, Arlo.

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