School Climate & Safety

The 4 People in Schools Who Students Are Most Likely to Call a Mentor

By Arianna Prothero — April 04, 2023 1 min read
Photo of student and mentor talking.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Ask educators and they’ll tell you that their students’ motivation to work hard and try their best in school is suffering.

Eighty percent of teachers, principals, and district leaders surveyed in early 2023 by the EdWeek Research Center said that the pandemic had made their students less motivated.

Mentoring relationships are one way to boost students’ motivation and engagement in school by increasing students’ sense of belonging in school, their belief in themselves as learners, as well as their attendance. Research has also found that mentors can also lift attendance rates, test scores, and grades.

But who in schools are teens most likely to connect with as a mentor? The answer: teachers top the list, followed by school counselors, athletic coaches, and principals or assistant principals.

Fifty-four percent of 13- to 19-year-olds said they considered a teacher in their school building to be a mentor for them and 41 percent said a school counselor, according to a nationally representative survey by the EdWeek Research Center. (Students who took the survey could select multiple categories of people who serve as their mentors.) Interestingly, another 21 percent said a mentor was a teacher from a previous school year or semester.

But as the following chart shows, just about any adult in a school building can serve as a mentor. For example, 7 percent of students said the school security guard was a mentor, and 6 percent said the same of the school nurse.

Female students were more likely than male students to list teachers and counselors as their mentors, while male students were more likely to say that they considered an athletic coach to be a mentor.

Overall, 81 percent of students said they consider at least one adult in their school building to be a mentor. A mentor was defined in the survey as someone who provides one-on-one help with schoolwork, advice on future college or career plans, guidance on social or other personal issues, and/or a sense that students can confide in them if need be.

See also

Phil Yordy, left, works with freshman Derek Shallow, 15, right, during the Hawks Take Flight mentorship program after school at Oregon High School in Oregon, Ill., on Feb. 15, 2023. Yordy teaches world history, civics, and freshman seminar and volunteers as a program mentor.
Teacher Phil Yordy, left, works with freshman Derek Shallow, 15, right, during an after school mentoring program at Oregon High School in Oregon, Ill., in February. Yordy teaches world history, civics, and freshman seminar and volunteers as a program mentor.
Laura McDermott for Education Week

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety 'A Universal Prevention Measure' That Boosts Attendance and Improves Behavior
When students feel connected to school, attendance, behavior, and academic performance are better.
9 min read
Principal David Arencibia embraces a student as they make their way to their next class at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, Texas on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Principal David Arencibia embraces a student as they make their way to their next class at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, Texas, on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Emil T. Lippe for Education Week
School Climate & Safety Most Teachers Worry a Shooting Could Happen at Their School
Teachers say their schools could do more to prepare them for an active-shooter situation.
4 min read
Image of a school hallway with icons representing lockdowns, SRO, metal detectors.
via Canva
School Climate & Safety Michigan School Shooter's Parents Sentenced to at Least 10 Years in Prison
They are the first parents convicted for failures to prevent a school shooting.
3 min read
Jennifer Crumbley stares at her husband James Crumbley during sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court on April 9, 2024, in Pontiac, Mich. Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, are asking a judge to keep them out of prison as they face sentencing for their role in an attack that killed four students in 2021.
Jennifer Crumbley stares at her husband James Crumbley during sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court on April 9, 2024, in Pontiac, Mich. The parents of Ethan Crumbley, who killed four students at his Michigan high school in 2021, asked a judge to keep them out of prison.
Clarence Tabb Jr./Detroit News via AP
School Climate & Safety Civil Rights Groups Seek Federal Funding Ban on AI-Powered Surveillance Tools
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, the coalition argued these tools could violate students' civil rights.
4 min read
Illustration of human silhouette and facial recognition.
DigitalVision Vectors / Getty