When is it Time to Say Goodbye to a Mentor?

Although some mentorships are life long, it is more common to have a mentor for a season. How do we know when that season has come to an end?

  1. The time that you set for the mentor/mentee relationship is over. For example, you may have set one year at the timeline and the year is over. If you would like to continue, it is ok to ask the mentor. Expect them to take some time to decide, and be gracious if they decide the time is over.
  2. When you have learned everything you can from them. It may be that you find their advice is repeated or similar to previous advice. In this case, you may have learned all you can from them. Similarly, you could be in a different situation from them e.g. you teach in a rural setting and they teach in an urban setting and now you need someone with more specific rural experience.
  3. You no longer meet with your mentor. Sometimes a mentor/mentee relationship fizzles out over time, and it may mean that it’s time to say goodbye.
  4. Circumstances change. The mentor or mentee may get a new job, have a baby or have some other life event that makes it more difficult to continue meeting or that changes the kind of mentoring you need. You may get a job in a high school and your mentor is an elementary school teacher.
  5. You find that the mentor is not a good match for you. This can happen, and it is ok to let your mentor know that you are grateful for the time they have given you and that you are looking for something a bit different.

No matter the reason, be sure to thank your mentor for the time and advice they have given you. Send a thank you card or a small gift – flowers or a gift card – this is always appreciated. It is also good to reflect on what you learned. It is the end of a season.

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