Dos and don'ts for mentors
What you should do
Help her find a suitable project
Taking your mentee ideas as input, help her decide on a project she likes and she can realistically make in the 12 weeks of the program.
Suggest her appropriate tutorials
We have made a selection of tutorials available on our website, but you should select the ones your mentee should be reading for each task. You can select other tutorials outside of our list that you find better for a given task. If you found a great tutorial that you think should be on the list, please email it to us!
Don’t forget the timezone
When you are arranging hangouts / skype calls, don’t forget to take into account the timezone of your mentee.
Give her a timeline and stick to it
You should be able to see the bigger picture for your mentee - and even though you might be off by 1-2 weeks on your initial estimation, at least you will have a roadmap and you will be able to say how far can the project go at some point in time. E.g. 1 week for learning how to use github and doing basic tutorials; 1 week for thinking the basis of the project (e.g. what classes, modules etc.)
Teach her what the tutorials don’t
Tell her about the importance of details, such as modularity, refactoring, etc.
Teach her how to debug
Ok, the program is not working - what next? Teach her about compiler errors, runtime errors, and how to handle each of them. If possible, work with her and tell her to do something wrong so she might see the output.
Ask questions to help her reach a conclusion
Make her explain her decisions (what does she wants to accomplish? how is she going to do that?) and if the solution cannot help her accomplish their goal, then help her understand this by asking questions and letting her come to those conclusions herself.
Support her decisions
Support her decisions even though you don’t think it’s the best way / efficient. Don’t impose.
Good to have
Spend more time with her at the beginning of the program
This is even more necessary if she has not had any previous programming experience. At the beginning there should be more hangouts / skype calls, whereas by the end you could just communicate by mail.
Answer e-mails in good time
It would be really important for your mentee if you could answer her e-mails in 24h, so her learning process is not interrupted for too long.
What you don't have to do
You don’t have to go through tutorials with her
She can do this in her own time, at her own pace, and let you know if she has any difficulties by mail.
You don’t have to stick to the original plan
Thoughts change, and the mentee's view on the project will also change as she learns more and more. We don’t expect her to stick to the original plan presented. However, every change should be discussed and approved by the mentor, whereas the change of the theme of the project has to be discussed and approved by the organizers.
What you shouldn't do
Don’t work on her project for her
She should learn how to program herself, and exercise at writing code. Tell her what she should do if she needs guidance, but let her choose the way she implements this.
Don’t spam her with a lot of materials
It is better to only give her one resource, maximum 2, for a fixed task, and later on ask her if she has read and understood what was written there.
Don’t tell her everything at once
It is better to explain concepts as she goes, too much information might frighten her - and she will forget it easier.