Lesson 5: Mentors

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: Use mentors to gain firsthand insight from someone working in a student’s field of interest.

Materials needed: Preferred note-taking device, Internet access

Introduction

“Remember we have been working on identifying steps necessary to meet requirements for your preferred career, and thinking about actions you can take now to reach your career goal. Locating a mentor—someone already working in your field of interest willing to share their experiences—is a good first step.”

Discussion: The Value of a Mentor

Facilitate lessons with discussion questions such as, “Why do you think it might be important to hear from someone already working in the career you’re interested in? Do you think talking to a professional who is blind or low vision and has experience in your occupation of interest could be helpful? Why?” Consider the value of a mentor in the student’s field of interest. Discuss why firsthand experience can sometimes be more important than the information you might read online or in a book.

Exercise: Questions for Mentors

“Imagine you were in conversation with a thirty-year-old _______________________ (student’s desired occupation) who is blind/ low vision. What would you want to know?” Have students record questions or concerns they want to raise with a mentor. Suggestions include workplace accommodations, assistive technologies, the disclosure process, the pitfalls and triumphs associated with the social aspects of work, and any other questions you might have about entering the workforce as a person who is blind/ low vision. Also, suggest that students develop occupation-specific questions: What makes the job interesting? Why did he or she choose to go into it? What kinds of advice might the mentor have for someone just starting in the field? What surprised them about the field or job?

Exercise: Contacting a Mentor

Have your students go through the following steps:

  • Have students record their questions.
  • Utilize one’s social network and online resources to locate a mentor. Consider Envision’s College Success Program, NFB’s Mentorship Program, and individuals in your community.
  • Establish a mentor meeting via phone call.

Discussion: Benefits of Mentoring and Mentorship

Ask the students how they anticipate mentor relationships beneficial and if they would like to one day act as mentors to high school students.

Review

“Today we discussed mentorship and began the process of locating a mentor. Please let me know when you receive responses. Next time we will begin planning for a work experience this summer.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, modifications:

Next steps/lesson: Planning for a summer work experience.

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