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Yesterday I experienced the power of mentoring in my classes. Before I was sad with the lack of commitment of my students, and I wondered what could I do to engage them.

First I recognized my failure. If they weren’t engaged, I wasn’t persuasive enough. But then I decided to make a small gesture, and ask each one – ” how are you doing with the exercise?” – and till the end of the class I assisted something extraordinary: engagement.

But I saw more. Today, I follow the same intuition and one of my students was really off. I tried my best to mentor her, but it wasn’t enough. I allow some space but kept mentoring everyone. When I went back to my desk after this first round, I looked at this student and saw her colleagues helping her, and they looked respectful of her emotional state. I saw pure accountability.

At the end of the class, she wasn’t the same. And I had to say time was up because everyone was deep working.

Small gestures are powerful and can make a difference when you least expect.