"I love finding answers and working closely with the families, helping each of my students to do the best that they can each week."
Written by Avanti Gajoo, a Student Success Mentor at Valenture Institute
My name is Avanti and I have been working with the students and parents at Valenture for just over a year now - since the first homerooms started!
A few years ago I made a decision to move into the field of education, but I knew that I still wanted to exercise my knowledge and skill from my studies and work in psychology and counselling. I knew I needed a new opportunity and a unique space where I could support others and challenge myself.
I joined Valenture Institute, keen to work with a passionate team, and curious to learn how I could support high school age students online. I had experience supporting adults in their online education, but I knew that working with high school students would be a completely unique experience.
(Picture: A poster Avanti's Acacia class made for her as a thank you for all her support and guidance.)
So what does the life of a student mentor look like?
I wake up at 5:30 in the morning - I admit to pressing the snooze button once or twice due to my love for sleep!
6:30 am | I exercise 3 days a week, a new addition to my routine which I started with this year (2021). It has proven to be so helpful with my ability to focus throughout the day. It also makes me starving, so I immediately have to eat breakfast before I get ready for the day!
8:00 - 8:30 | I start my work by checking my calendar - I want to be sure not to miss any important meetings with my students, parents or colleagues in the day.
I check my inboxes - my student-facing email as well as my employee inbox, this way I start with the most urgent emails to students, and I am equipped with the latest information to respond to them as accurately as possible.
9:00 | I meet with the Student Success team daily. In these meetings, we share our priorities for the day, we can help and support each other with those priorities where needed.
From here, my day can vary. I can do all of the following in varying order:
- Respond to student emails, attend calls with students and/or parents.
- Host homeroom sessions and/or learning compass sessions with my students.
- Meet with colleagues about new platforms or processes that we are building to help the students have the best experience possible.
- Meet with the faculty team to discuss any students who need additional support, and how we can best work together to support them.
- Train new members of the team or check-in to see if anyone needs any support. This can also include reaching out for support from my team when needed- this does happen!
I try to take a break for lunch at midday - I generally decide to keep working, which is a habit I need to work on.
My day generally ends a 5 pm, and I always try to have a clean slate as much as possible for the new day. If I don’t, I write a checklist of the most urgent tasks to complete in the new day.
When working with students and parents directly, each day brings a new and unexpected question to answer. I love finding the answers and working closely with the families, helping each of my students to do the best that they can each week.