In line with the ethos of St Joseph’s Secondary School, each child’s personal, emotional, spiritual, social and academic development is a priority. The building of each child’s self esteem is of prime importance. The school aims to provide a safe and caring environment in which all students can function and receive the education they deserve in a comfortable environment. The school endeavours to allow each and every student to have a positive experience in school.
The transition between Primary and Post-Primary school can be a very emotional and challenging time for many students. The mentoring programme, provided through the Cairdeas initiative, plays a vital role in helping students to settle in successfully to their new environment.
5th year students are invited to apply for a position as a school mentor. The chosen mentors are then provided with a training day held in August. The trained mentors return to school on the same day as the 1st year students, to help with the integration/induction process.
Before our 1st Years embark upon their secondary school journey they receive a postcard from their mentors in August. In this postcard the mentors introduce themselves and offer some comforting words about starting secondary school and settling into school life in St Joseph’s.
Each mentor is allocated a small group of 1st year students (approx. 3/4 pupils) to care for throughout the year. Here at St Joseph’s we believe that each 1st year should feel comfortable with their mentor. If any pupil is unhappy in their group, they can easily be changed. The idea behind the mentoring programme is that 1st year students will have a peer to confide in. In addition we have found that 1st Years enjoy knowing a familiar face in the senior end of the school.
Mentors offer assistance with minor difficulties. For more serious problems mentors refer the issue on to staff members: Cairdeas Mentor Programme Team – Ms Thynne, Ms Gardiner, Guidance Counsellor Ms King, 1st Year Yearhead, Deputy Principal Ms Neylon or Principal Mr Reidy.
5th Year mentors meet with the 1st Year students at arranged times throughout the year, e.g. Halloween themed party. At these meet ups the focus is on allowing students to socialise and chat in a fun and informal setting. In addition the mentors keep an eye on their 1st year students during break times for the first few weeks.
As businessman Steve Washington said ‘ Mentoring is a two way street. You get out of it what you put into it.’ We at St. Joseph’s firmly believe in this philosophy. As such we affirm that the Cairdeas programme is as beneficial for the mentors as it is for the 1st Yr students. Through this initiative we see our mentors develop their leadership skills, capacity for empathy and fluency in communication. We are proud to see our senior students flourish in their role as mentors and become more active leaders within the school community.
‘Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.’