Road Map to Driving Better Matches
By Aleka Calsoyas published on Apr 29, 2024
min read
Girl in a car looking at a road map and the road ahead.

In an upcoming workshop on the “Drivers” of good mentor matches we are leaning into the analogy of a road trip!

The map above illustrates an important idea about the process of matching: the journey from having defined program goals to matching intentionally in support of those goals can take different paths. But regardless of the route, there are three main places to visit between those two points:

  • Learn about what mentors want and how they mentor

  • Build a preferably large mentor pool

  • Learn about what mentees want and how they learn

The order of these stops depends on your context and what additional stops you want to make along the way.

Almost all mentoring programs, whether residencies, practicum and student teacher placements, or other educator supports, pass through these five way-stations even if they hardly slow down at all, or assign that route to another driver, like a partner organization or to stakeholders themselves.

Informed by our work with different programs across the United States, we have identified 21 types of research-based activities that can be done along this “route” to better fulfill program goals through truly intentional matching. Not all activities are necessary! Our approach is to help practitioners through a guided self-assessment to identify the highest-value and most-doable actions appropriate for their context.

Even programs that can’t be said to, strictly speaking, do “matching” themselves—for instance, those that prioritize prospective teachers finding their own mentors or those that rely on partners to make matches—can identify ways to make the process better accomplish their goals in the near-term without needing to make major changes. Supporting a more intentional matching process does not need to be resource-intensive and can be done in both centralized or decentralized environments.

If you aren’t attending the CA Residency Lab 2024 Annual Symposium in Los Angeles, reach out to find out about other opportunities to learn about how to conduct your own assessment! Email [email protected] or schedule a demo!

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