5 Differences Between Mentoring and Teaching

Teaching and mentoring have similarities that make them easy to confuse. Both are relationships of varying degrees of intimacy in which one adult offers guidance to another. It’s not always a one-sided relationship: the mentor can also gain wisdom from the mentee. The most important thing is to be clear on what you want out of it and what you want to offer before starting either relationship. From there, you can keep each relationship healthy and rewarding.

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A mentor is someone who offers guidance from the inside. Somebody whom you trust and respect to teach you something. A teacher is someone you trust and admire to educate your students about a specific thing. If it’s just a friendship, both relationships have their own free will where neither one feels obligated to teach (even though both are learning) or offer any form of advice.

What is Mentoring

Mentoring is a long-term relationship where the less experienced member has a learning goal. Mentors can help with many things, including job skills, academic pursuits, and personal development.

What is Teaching

Teachers instruct by teaching specific information or facilitating training. Teachers are also somewhat limited by their scope of knowledge or expertise, but mentors can teach anything from how to change a tire to how to find your life purpose.

Who does it

Because mentors have a wide variety of possible functions, anyone can act as a mentor if they know what the mentee wants to learn (or master). People often have mentors for particular subjects where the mentor may have no interest in other areas. Teachers typically teach their issues but can also offer guidance in other areas of expertise.

Who Are They

Mentors are often professionals or experts whose advice we value and admire. Teachers are professionals who happen to teach. An expert can be a mentor, but not all experts choose to act as mentors. A teacher is usually an expert who is paid to teach students or train clients in a given subject area, but this isn’t always the case because anyone can teach anything.

What Is The Goal

Teachers are typically paid to provide information that they may or may not be passionate about. They don’t necessarily involve themselves emotionally with their students, but it’s not uncommon for teachers to become good friends after some time. Mentors can also be paid or unpaid, and there is no official end date on mentoring relationships.

5 Differences between Mentoring and Teaching

1) Teaching has a curriculum with definite goals that need to be achieved while mentoring focuses on understanding the person they are helping and their goals themselves. The teacher is there to impart knowledge and skills, while mentors focus more on team building or even having someone who will listen or provide feedback as needed.

2) Teaching has a clearly defined start and end, while mentoring is more fluid. You can also go back and forth between the two. Because a mentor can be anything, they can bet their time helping someone in anything. And a teacher usually only has the authority to teach one subject or expertise; they are less mobile when it comes to mentoring.

3) Teaching is focused on students, or rather students within your school (or college); with mentoring, you can help someone outside of that context as well. Mentors are not limited to just those in your immediate class or campus; they can mentor from all walks of life. Mentors can live at home and be very close with their peers, in a college dormitory, on the job site or even in their household, depending on the situation. They usually have more explicit goals than mentors as well as pinpointed responsibilities.

4) Teaching is set up in a schedule, while mentoring can be more ad-hoc. It also allows for an expanded range of learning styles regarding what’s taught in the classroom and to whom. Mentors can be anyone you want as long as they have the required capabilities.

5) Teaching is structured, and mentoring is more personal. They both serve similar purposes and offer similar rewards, but mentors can help with goals that would take much longer for the teacher to help with. Mentors are often closer to those they are helping and therefore have better insight into what they need or want from them when it comes to their education or life goals. While teaching has a set curriculum, mentors can tailor the classes to fit the person at hand.

Final Note

Teaching and mentoring are both fundamental to any student’s growth in school and life. Both deserve more attention for the benefits they can offer. Mentors can be great friends, shoulders to lean on, or listening ears. They can be there when you need a friendly face on campus or someone to talk with when you don’t quite feel up to talking with classmates.