October 1996

Navigation Key
o [*] - [] *


Mentoring and the Internet

by Ted Nellen

Another teacher has retired. A retirement community is filling up with very talented people. Businesses encourage their workers to volunteer their time to the community in some capacity. As experienced people are "put out to pasture," as businesses look to improve community relations, and as President Clinton has asked for Americans to volunteer their time and expertise to their communities; I have an answer for all of these people: mentoring.

Mentors are adults who have something to offer the students in our schools and are willing to do this work as volunteers. Many mentors cannot get to a classroom, for logistical reasons, but they can use the Internet to visit a classroom, becoming a valuable resource. I have involved the people resources from our Virtual Community as mentors to all of my students in all of my classes.

I have utilized mentoring resources to augment the work in my New York City public high school with fantastic results. Our mentors include both retired professionals and employees of businesses that support the mentoring program. In fact, at businesses in Rochester, NY, or in large corporations like Hewlett-Packard and AT&T, employees are encouraged to volunteer as mentors with local schools. The Department of Energy has compiled a very comprehensive collection of testimonials by mentors and pupils in hundreds of mentoring projects across America. Mentoring in my classroom currently includes:

  1. --Adopt-a-Student: This is the program which inspired us and started us in the mentoring project. Students are adopted and counseled in HTML, writing, and general life skills. You will read some of the participants' dialogue here and find the reactions by the students to mentoring in their webfolios.
  2. Electronic Emissary: A project with the University of Texas at Austin's School of Education matches a mentor to each of my classes.
  3. Me as a mentor: I have served as mentor for other students, student teachers, and other teachers.
  4. Teachers College Project: A collaborative post-graduate project and database of mentoring projects online. [TOC]

Ted Nellen ( has been a high school English teacher since 1974 and has been using computers in his English class since 1984. Currently he uses the Internet as his classroom at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in New York City.

Copyright © 1996 by Ted Nellen. All Rights Reserved.

Contents Archive Sponsors Studies Contact