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Mentor Code Of Conduct


The success and growth of The GEAR Alliance and Up-A-Creek Robotics depends on the wisdom, talent and energy of its adult mentors, and your contributions are valued and greatly appreciated.

The role of the mentor is to not only provide essential technical expertise, but to also instruct students in collaboration, teamwork, and work ethic. Mentors teach these valuable lessons both directly and by modeling professional behavior themselves. The goal of this program is to encourage students to pursue STEM careers. Although building robots and winning competitions is great fun, it really is much “more than robots”.

Gracious Professionalism

Ultimately, mentors should be guided by the practice of Gracious Professionalism:

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.


One important tenet in education is that if instruction is to be effective, students must first have a connection and positive relationship with the instructor. Students must feel safe, respected and valued before they can begin to learn. It is the responsibility of the mentor to initiate and form these relationships, memorize each student’s name, find something about them that provides for common connections, greet them, and provide for their safety.

As a student-centered organization, it is our role to create leadership and learning opportunities. This is not easy, particularly in the heat of competition, when so many competent mentors are available and willing to solve problems. Students must be allowed to make decisions, try new things and fail.


We are both teachers and colleagues both with students and other mentors. Everyone should be treated with respect at all times. Behavior should model professional work environments (best practices) and students should be treated as co-workers and equals. Some professional work environments are quite negative, competitive and often filled with coarse and obscene language, and is not the behavior we want to model, even if it can exist in the “real world”. The UACR facility (and all locations where we are having a UACR or FIRST-related event) should be open, welcoming, comforting, friendly, non-intimidating, and non-threatening.  Safety is paramount at all times, and we should model safe behavior and ensure others do the same.


This document indicates what is expected of a mentor for Up-A-Creek Robotics and its associated junior teams. By signing at the end of this document, you are agreeing to abide by the code described herein.

I agree to the following:
  1. I will read and understand the FIRST Mentoring Guide. Everything in that guide is incorporated into this code of conduct by reference.
  2. I will always put safety first.
  3. I will foster an environment of learning and teaching by actively engaging students, and not merely do the work myself or unproductively socialize with others.
  4. I recognize that I am a team ambassador and will strive to represent the team in a positive and professional manner in the community at large.
  5. I recognize that I am a role model for the students and will help set the example for them to act accordingly.
  6. I will treat all students equally and fairly. I will not have “favorites” and when assigning work to students, will look for opportunities for growth in less skilled students and encourage highly skilled students to lead and teach.
  7. I will respect others during meetings, including not talking when others are.
  8. I will make a concerted effort to involve students in each (team-related) task on which I am working. I will only work independently if there are no students available with which to work.
  9. I will guide and direct students to perform tasks without “ordering” them or raising my voice.
  10. I will limit myself to building, fixing, or otherwise working on the robot to the following situations:
    • Showing (i.e., teaching) one or more students how to perform the task
    • An action to be performed may not be safely performed by a student
    • After one or more students attempt to perform an action and still cannot complete the action (e.g., a part is stuck)
    • Any time a threat to person or property requires immediate action or attention
  11. I recognize that socialization is part of what makes the team, and ultimately a STEM career, seem attractive to students. I will be patient with age-appropriate “silly” behavior if it is safe and helps students to form connections with each other.
  12. I will not use profanity, obscene gestures, or offensive language at any FIRST event, the UACR facility, any UACR event or activity, or in the presence of any student or parent.
  13. I will not tell or share inappropriate jokes, stories or comments with students. I will also not “highlight” an inappropriate interpretation of a comment.
  14. I will not touch a student, parent or other mentor in an inappropriate way. 
  15. I will not be one-on-one in a non-public area or closed (with no windows) room with a single student.
  16. I will not let anyone borrow or otherwise use my card key to access the building.
  17. If I lose my card key, I will immediately notify a mentor who can disable the key. I will pay UACR $10 to replace the lost card key.
  18. If I am the last mentor to leave the UACR facility, I will ensure that all entrances are closed and locked. I will also ensure that all non-automatic lights are turned off.
  19. When I leave the UACR facility, I will let at least one other mentor know.
  20. I will honor the commitment of our parents by being welcoming, communicating frequently, honoring curfews and releasing students on-time.
  21. I will not wedge or prop open any external doors at the UACR facility.
  22. I will protect and respect the team’s facility, tools and equipment resources, including keeping them clean and organized.
  23. I will be a good steward of team funds.
  24. I will consent to periodic background checks.
  25. Our mentors are dedicated, hard-working, intense and fiercely competitive. Conflicts between mentors are inevitable and a valuable part of organization growth. I will assume “positive intent” from my fellow mentors and will strive to respectfully resolve any conflicts that may arise away from students.