Primary School Mentoring

The Magic Bridge Game

Helen and Lauren talk about mentoring on the Bridge21 Primary School Programme.

Hi, my name is Helen and I’ll be typing in this rather elegant italicised font. My name is Lauren and anything in this confident bold font is written by me. This summer, we both mentored on the Bridge21 Primary School Programme. The schools we were given a chance to mentor came from Tallaght, Baggot Street, Sherriff Street, O’Connell Street, Walkinstown and Haddington Road.

The schools we mentored were all from all over Dublin and every group was different. Some were lively, some were mild, some were spirited and some were more willing to get than others. Although the schools were different, the students all started off shy but became much more awake and open minded during the day. The enthusiasm levels were through the roof by the time the videos went up and the children left the building a lot more optimistic than they entered.

The main reason I applied for this programme would have to be the atmosphere at Bridge21 has always provided, the quality of people and the different approach towards education. I’ve always love working in groups ever since I was chosen to take part in Bridge21 and I was not willing to stop any time soon. I also wanted to do something during my summer instead of wasting it away and this was a fantastic opportunity, so I jumped at it. Bridge21 has equipped me with many skills that would benefit me in the near future such as communication skills, group working skills, leadership skills, organisation skills etc. This programme has really opened my eyes up to so much.

The reason I applied to be a mentor was that I love Bridge 21 and everything it stands for, it’s a new and improved way of learning through media. I had come to Bridge multiple times this year and never had a bad experience here. I have good social and IT skills so I had no doubt that I’d be good with the children and that I’d be able to help them throughout the day making their movies.

I felt a cluster of emotions when first coming in. I did not know how the children would handle my instructions and if it was going to be a complete disaster. But once I got into the work and got it done, things became a lot easier and I felt more relieved. I even bonded with a few of the students I mentored. It was sad seeing them leave at the end of a good day. There were a few ‘’lively’’ and ‘’spirited’’ groups, but I honestly thought we handled it well and got on with the day. I was also a tad terrified when Kev began introducing us to the rules of being a mentor and how to react to certain situations. Only because I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle an issue.

Igor and primary students having fun.

Each day, a different school came in but the programme was usually the same. A brief welcome to Trinity College, ‘The Magic Bridge Game’, telling them the plan for the day, being divided into teams, making a storyboard on the whiteboards, going into Trinity to get the filming done and getting down to work in the pods. Watching the movies on the big screen was always the best bit.

Overall, I found the mentor experience brilliant, fun and beneficial in several ways. I would absolutely go back and do it all again even though I did two weeks in a row already. It was a fantastic experience and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

In the six days I spent mentoring the primary school children, I don’t think that there was one day I did not have a great time, and more importantly I don’t think there was one day that the children didn’t enjoy themselves. There were times for myself and the other mentors were things were difficult and we started to stress a little, but seeing your teams video go up on the big screen at the end of the day genuinely did make it all worthwhile. I had six very unique teams over my time mentoring and I honestly couldn’t choose a favourite because they were all so different. They all made me laugh, some nearly made me cry (when they were leaving of course) but one way or another they all grew on me and it is because of the children I mentored this summer that I can’t wait to sign up again next year!

Helen and Lauren are fifth year students in Colaiste Bríde in Clondalkin. They each spent two week in Bridge21 during their Transition Year and volunteered to mentor on our Primary School Programme in June 2014.

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