TEACHER VOICES

Educating the Whole Child Starts with Relationships of Trust

What impact does mentoring have on students? What are major issues in education for students of color today? In this collection of short videos, Michael Green, dean of culture and instruction at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, California, shares his views on mentoring, educating the whole child, and embracing failure.

Q: Why is mentoring so important to a child’s education? 

Michael Green: It’s the soft skills that they can gain, to be ready to perform after high school, whether it be college or work… A mentor allows [students] to understand what’s an attainable goal and what’s not, and really starts to push them toward a sense of purpose in discovering which job is going to be fulfilling…

You’re supporting students through academic struggles, through personal struggles. We’re supporting them through struggles at home. Through struggles of figuring out who they want to become, ultimately.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue in education today for students of color?

Michael: The immense gaps that exist in terms of resources. Often, students of color find themselves not being able to excel because of financial status or because they don’t have the opportunity to visit certain places, or because… there are teachers standing in front of them, studies show, that are not highly qualified.

In terms of how to mitigate that, when I see places using Summit Learning [for example]… you recognize that it’s helping to close those gaps; such as the mentor who’s going to help to provide education about college, even if your family doesn’t… or who’s going to help build those habits of success.

 “Summit really looks at educating the entire student.”

Q: What do you want people to know about Summit Learning?

Michael: Summit really looks at educating the entire student… At Summit Learning, we’re teaching those habits of success. We’re teaching not just the curriculum, but how do you actually think about the curriculum and apply it in your own, individualized way?

Q: What is your favorite inspirational quote and why?

Michael: The one that I say to our kiddos all the time is, “I stopped being afraid to fail the moment that I realized that it’s what makes me better.” Often, failure is this thing that so many of us fear so much, especially with students… but when you lock into the fact that you would not be where you are, you would not know as much as you know had it not have been for failure, that fear starts to kind of go away because you recognize it’s necessary.

Doesn’t feel good, but it’s necessary sometimes to help me grow. And when kids start to get that lesson, you see them start to attack things with less fear and less hesitancy because they’re not afraid of that experience.

Hear more Teacher Voices on the Summit Learning Blog.

About the author

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Lauren Faggella
A storyteller and former educator, Lauren Faggella is dedicated to turning the Summit Learning community's stories and ideas into great content that informs and inspires a range of audiences. Prior to joining Summit Public Schools, Lauren was a professional freelance writer and third-grade teacher in Rhode Island. She earned her MEd from the University of Rhode Island and BA in English from Elon University.