Frequently Asked Questions
What are my responsibilities as a mentor?
For the safety of our students, we ask that you call or email your intern’s advisor if your intern is unexpectedly absent. On a day-to-day basis, mentors should demonstrate a commitment to the student’s personal growth and workplace learning and make sure that the student documents their work and learning each day. Important responsibilities of a mentor include: Communication (with the student and with the advisor), Collaboration (attending exhibitions and mentor trainings), and Organization (planning a schedule with the intern, sharing resources and other skills).
Are students insured through the school?
Big Picture schools carry liability and accident insurance that covers students at internship sites. Copies of the school insurance policy are available from the internship coordinator. Should an injury occur, please notify the Big Picture program right away.
How will the students get to the internship site?
Some students walk to their internships, some get rides from their parents, and some are transported by Big Picture staff. The transportation method is based on the internship’s location and hours.
Can the student be a passenger in the car with me?
Arrangements are made for each situation. If in the course of the work it is necessary for the intern to travel with the mentor, the parent/guardian will need to sign a permission letter.
What if the intern is consistently late or acts/dresses unprofessionally?
Students are at their internship for real world learning. Treat the student like an employee, but realize that they are teenagers. In the beginning of the internship, set the standard you or your company expects. If during the internship the student deviates from that standard, address it with the student, and feel free to contact their advisor or internship coordinator to discuss the situation. If the situation is not rectified promptly, hold the student accountable as you would an employee.
How much of a time commitment am I making?
We ask that you host the intern for a minimum of eight weeks. At the end of eight weeks, the advisor and mentor re-evaluate the internship and either decide to wrap up the experience or to continue. Some interns stay at their internship for a whole year, some several months, and some several years. Each is a case by case situation, depending on the continued interest of both the student and mentor as well as the continued educational rigor.
What if I am out of the office?
There may be times when you are out of the office. If you should know this in advance, please let the student and advisor know. The three of you can decide what will be the best course of action. It would be a good idea to have another point person at your office available to help if needed.
Can I pay the student?
No. Our curriculum is designed so that the experience of the internship is an integral part of the student’s educational journey. However, if the student is a good fit at your organization you could offer him or her after-school or summer employment.
Can I have more than one intern?
Yes. You can definitely have more than one intern. However, before taking on this task, please be reminded that being a mentor is more than just supervising. As a mentor, you are responsible for giving feedback to the student and the advisor as well as providing opportunities for the student to have a hands-on education.
Can a group of us have an intern and share the mentoring responsibilities?
Yes. A group of adults can mentor an intern. However, we ask that one of the mentors is appointed as the contact person.
What do I do if there is a problem?
If there is a problem or if you have a question, your first course of action is to contact the student’s advisor. If the advisor is unavailable, you can contact the internship coordinator or program coordinator.
What if I can’t do Tuesday/Thursday from 9am to 2pm?
We’re happy to see what might work for everyone involved. The interns from the school are flexible in their internship hours. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the general days that we have chosen as internship days. If your schedule does not fit those days, feel free to talk to the internship coordinator to see if other arrangements can be made.
Why should I be a mentor?
Being a mentor allows adults like you to make a positive impact on the lives of teenagers. Being a mentor allows you to be a role model and educator to a student who is passionate about your field of work. Through genuine relationships, mentors teach a work ethic and model what it means to be an adult member of our community.
What makes this program unique?
Nationwide, Big Picture schools have been placing high school interns at job sites for over 20 years. Students acquire much of their learning through real world experiences. They pursue their passions in their internships and create projects that benefit their personal learning journey as well as the internship site. Through this work, students make deep connections to their learning and to their mentor.