Mentee is a quirky, funny novel set in a very real Toronto High School.
Young Warren Desmond, a bumbling everyman, finds himself working as a schoolteacher, but for all the wrong reasons. Desmond is trying to reach his personal goals: completing one year of teaching to be admitted into graduate school, and possibly winning back his college girlfriend. But none of his new students – diligent recent immigrants, uncontrollable bullies, budding gang-bangers, and a benighted, mentally-troubled kid – pay attention. Unless he reaches them, he will fail his school evaluation, ruining all his plans.
He turns to the bossy union rep, Laura Walker, for help. She uses him like a pawn to gain influence over administration, but not before finding him a mentor to guide him through his first year.
His first mentor, Mr. Wesley, is a jock-cum-teacher, popular with his students, but Desmond sees him coming on to a young student, and reports it. His second mentor, Justin Therrien, is a handsome and ambitious snob. Desmond attempts to imitate his successful approach, but a field trip goes awry.
Meanwhile, Desmond stumbles into a series of embarrassing encounters with geeky Ms Miller: is there a spark between them? His own attempts to reach students, Ali, Farishta and Steven, using unorthodox techniques, meet mixed success.
Desmond’s unofficial mentor is Laura’s nemesis, Hachinsky, a nefarious pot-smoking gonzo teacher operating out of the school’s furnace room. He tries to get Desmond (despite his obsessive fear of pot) to “turn on and drop out.” Desmond fights this downward pull.
His last mentor is Mr. Shah, an unassuming English teacher who recognizes Desmond’s good heart. With a few confederates, Shah stages an impromptu kidnapping to set Desmond on the right path. Desmond realizes teaching is his true goal.