A Good Listener Becomes a Role Modeling Mentor

Coaches and Teachers

A rec center track coach. A junior high school teacher. A high school basketball coach.

These were Natalie Robinson’s early mentors.

early mentors

“They played a huge part in my life,” Natalie says.

“I wasn’t necessarily going down the wrong path,” she says. “My role models outside of school just weren’t that great.”

Those relationships set Natalie on a path to be a volunteer and mentor for the rest of her life.

(It’s also worth noting that the mother of three still plays basketball once a week in a “mom’s league.”)

An Important Connection

Natalie is a Human Resources Director at Pearson today.

Every Tuesday afternoon, she camps out for half an hour in a conference room and has an online conversation through the TutorMate program with a first grader.

“Miss Natalie” is helping her student read.

“A phone rings inside the classroom,” Natalie says. “And we’re connected online and over the phone.”

“I control what she sees on the screen,” she says. “We go through a lesson, use flashcards, say words, play language-based tic tac toe.”

Natalie has already seen progress in her student’s ability to learn.

“I thought some of the words we were talking about were too big,” Natalie says.

“I’ll tell her ‘Good job!,” she says, “and I can hear the excitement in her reaction.”


A Good Listener

“My job at Pearson deals with employee relations,” Natalie says. “It involves a lot of coaching and counseling.”

“I realized early on that I had a knack for really listening to people,” she says. “So, over the years, I’ve been able to transition that professional expertise to mentoring relationships with young people.”

“She Makes Me Laugh”

“I know first-hand the value of positive role models,” Natalie says.

“My mentee this school year is such a bubbly child,” she says. “Our conversations are so rewarding—she makes me laugh.”

Her goal is to help her student end the year with skills to read on a first grade level—perhaps even on a second grade level.