Virtual Mentor Program — Frequently Asked Questions
Virtual mentoring may be a new concept to many people, and the NCRA virtual mentoring team is here to help you along the way. Following are answers to some frequently asked questions as well as some other resources for further reading. For other questions, please feel free to contact the Mentoring Program Manager.
How does virtual mentoring work?
Virtual mentoring is a way for court reporting professionals and students to participate in a mentoring relationship in a virtual (i.e. remote) setting. Mentors and mentees are matched by NCRA’s Virtual Mentor Program and introduced via email. Most of our participants are not geographically close to each other and find it convenient to communicate via phone, email, or Skype.
Who is eligible to be a mentor?
Any professional court reporter or broadcast or CART captioner is eligible to register for the Virtual Mentor Program. NCRA membership is not a requirement.
Who is eligible to be a mentee?
Any student who is currently enrolled in a court reporting training program is eligible to register for the Virtual Mentor Program. NCRA membership is not a requirement.
How do I become a mentor?
Register to be a mentor by submitting the mentor sign-up form on the Virtual Mentor Program home page.
How do I become a mentee?
Register to be a mentee by submitting the mentee sign-up form on the Virtual Mentor Program home page.
What is my role as a mentor?
A mentor acts as a coach, a role model, and a resource. A mentor will work together with the student and the teacher to set reasonable goals for academic progress, offer support and feedback when needed, and introduce the mentee to the “ins and outs” of the profession.
How are the mentors and mentees matched?
Once participants are registered, their names are entered into the Virtual Mentor Program database. Every effort is made to connect students with mentors based on geographic proximity, mentoring needs, and similar areas of interest (i.e. captioning, CART, freelance, official, or realtime).
What is the time commitment expected of a mentor?
Every mentoring relationship is different, and mentors and mentees will want to have an initial discussion about what works best for both parties regarding how often, for how long, and in what manner to keep in touch. It is best to set realistic expectations at the outset, but these will naturally evolve over time as the needs of the mentee and/or the availability of the mentor change. As with any relationship, ongoing communication is essential.
How long do a mentor and mentee typically work together?
There is no specific time frame for the mentoring arrangement, but a minimum recommended commitment would be a year.
How many students can a mentor be matched with?
Mentors will only be matched with one mentee at any given time. If requested, however, mentors may be assigned up to three students. If a mentor becomes temporarily unable to take on a student (or additional students), please advise the Mentoring Program Manager to be taken off the mentor list.
Can mentors receive Professional Development Credits for mentoring a student?
NCRA members mentoring a student through the Virtual Mentor Program may be eligible for PDCs toward NCRA certification(s). Please download the Mentoring and Interning Log on the Virtual Mentor Program home page for more details. Members can find information on PDCs on the NCRA website and in the Continuing Education Program Rules.
What should I do if I want to change my mentor or mentee?
There are times when the mentoring arrangement simply does not go smoothly. This can be due to scheduling conflicts, personality differences, or other changes in life circumstances. If difficulties arise, staff is always available as a point of mutual contact. The goal of the Virtual Mentor Program is to make the relationship as positive and productive as possible. In the unfortunate event that a change needs to be made, the Mentoring Program Manager will work with both mentor and mentee to make reassignments that are better suited to each person’s needs.
What is the NCRA Standard Agreement? Do I have to sign it?
NCRA requires that all participants adhere to certain standards of behavior while involved in the Virtual Mentor Program. The NCRA Standard Agreement is intended to enhance the learning experience for both mentors and mentees and to increase their potential for success. Mentors and mentees are asked to sign and submit the Agreement as part of the registration process.
Are mentors required to help their mentees find job shadowing and internship opportunities?
Although not a requirement, connecting mentees with career development opportunities toward the end of their court reporting training programs would be an invaluable component of any mentoring relationship. NCRA asks all mentors to be available, if possible, as a resource for their mentees and other local students who are seeking out job shadowing and internship possibilities.
Where can I get more information if I still have questions?
For more information on mentoring, please visit these additional sources:
- It Takes a Mentor (New York Times)
- How to Be an Amazing Mentor (HubSpot blog)
- How to Be a Great Mentor (Forbes)
- Mentoring 101 (Monster)