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Mentoring ICs

Mentoring ICs

  1. Why should I become a mentor?
  2. What is the role and responsibilities of the mentor?
  3. How can I be a good mentor?
  4. How many mentors are required for each IC?
  5. How will I know if I’m doing a good job as a mentor?
  6. Do I need to meet with my IC in person?
  7. When someone asks you to be a mentor, what are some of the ways to know if a tech is ready to be an IC?
  8. Can I teach if I am a mentor?
  9. What are the options if an IC fails the course? 

1.Why should I become a mentor?

As a mentor have the opportunity to:

  • Share valuable knowledge based on your own experience
  • Develop your coaching, communication and leadership skills
  • Work with people from other backgrounds and cultures
  • Motivate and support someone to fulfill their potential
  • Help someone in your field put their skills and experience to work
  • Continue to enrich the future of the field of child passenger safety

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2. What is the role and responsibilities of the mentor?

The primary role of the mentor is to provide guidance and support to the Instructor Candidate based on his or her unique developmental needs.  The mentor should blend in with the instructor team and not call out the IC as being any different than any other instructor in the class. The mentor is also the coach to the IC to help them meet all the responsibilities and requirements to become a certified Instructor. All members of the teaching team should be mindful that a certification course is student-focused and work to ensure a great learning environment for the technician candidates.

  • Work with an IC to determine objectives for the mentoring relationship and set goals to enhance their technical and hands-on skills, interpersonal, team skills, and instructor skills
  • Some mentors find it helpful to follow this: Sample schedule page 5
  • If there are more than 1 mentor, they should work together to set a plan or list of responsibilities for the IC.

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3. How can I be a good mentor?

  • Provide clear expectations at the beginning of the candidacy process
  • Provide candid, constructive feedback
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Be accessible
  • Listen actively to the IC
  • Promote responsible decision making; thinking through the problem before arriving at a decision
  • Maintain a professional relationship
  • Act as a role model
  • Share knowledge and experience
  • Discuss appropriate ways to communicate with technician candidates and instructors
  • Share your networks and professional contacts
  • Support your IC to maintain self-confidence in the classroom and the community
  • Help them realize their full potential and contribute to the field of child passenger safety and the community in which they live and work

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4. How many mentors are required for each IC?

Safe Kids (Policies and Procedures) encourages two mentors, although only one is required. In this best practice scenario, one mentor would be designated as the primary mentor on the course roster but both mentors would provide mentoring and feedback, and both would complete the evaluation.

It is recommended that instructors mentor only on IC at a time. This is because they must carefully observe and provide instruction, guidance and feedback for them. If there is more than one IC per mentor, and since they can’t be in two places at once, they should work with at least one other member of the team to provide 100% coverage One instructor could be the main mentor for two ICs, but they will need at least one co-mentor to provide appropriate supervision.  Both instructors would complete the evaluation as the course unfolds.

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5. How will I know if I’m doing a good job as a mentor?

Open communication is the key to any good relationship. Throughout the mentoring process you should be communicating with your IC about whether or not their needs are begin met.  Review the Instructor Candidate Evaluation together so expectations about what it takes to pass are clear. Throughout the process, you should have conversations about your shared progress in fulfilling the goals set at the beginning of the relationship.

If you are in a situation where you would like guidance or are experiencing conflict, please contact other experienced mentors or contact cps.certification@safekids.org for advice and support.

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6. Do I need to meet with my IC in person?

It is recommended that you meet in person, especially for the first few meetings Mentor-IC Guide. Start with main topics to cover such as; important points in each of the modules and discussing technical information that the IC may need to emphasize, clarify, or expand upon. If you are not able to meet in person, try Skype or other video conference. These meetings should be as “face to face” as possible.

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7. When someone asks you to be a mentor, what are some of the ways to know if a tech is ready to be an IC?

  • Discuss how long have they been a technician (to apply as an IC, tech needs to be active for at least 6 months) 
  • Discuss if their agency supports them in term so being able to dedicate adequate time to prepare, teach and meet all of the requirements as an instructor (Policies and Procedures)
  • Discuss opportunities to observe and access technical and communication skills such as check up events
  • Discuss opportunities to observe and access instructor adult classroom management skills such as a parenting class
  • Provide feedback and offer suggestions regarding observations of technical, communication and instructor skills
  • Refer them to the Becoming an Instructor section of the website. Discuss expectations and  discuss a mutual plan highlighting their strengths and overcoming weaknesses

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8. Can I teach if I am a mentor?

  • You should teach as little as possible so you may devote your full attention to observing the candidate
  • You should not act as the Lead Instructor and as a mentor for the same course, due to the number of responsibilities each role has during the course.
  • If the mentor must teach, be sure there are no scheduling conflicts so that he or she may observe the candidate at all times, including preparation for hands-on exercises.
  • Mentors can get up to 8 hours for being a mentor. If the CPSTI teaches or does hands-on work, please also add them as an instructor.

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9. What are the options if an IC fails the course? 

  • The Mentor will be providing daily feedback that includes steps for improvement to the IC throughout the process in order to successfully complete their candidacy. 
  • If the candidate is not going to pass their candidacy, it is recommended that the Mentor(s) and LI or another member of the Instructor Team participate in a private conversation with the IC that has failed when reviewing the IC evaluation to clarify anything that is unclear to the IC
  • ICs have an unlimited number of chances to participate in a certification course as an instructor candidate during their candidacy period of one year.
  • If they would like to work with a new team, ICs are welcome to do so. They should work with their mentor, old and new, to identify areas for improvement and ways to improve their skills.