It's been a few months since the mentoring program was started
up and while it's been mentioned during the DPL voting period, we haven't
heard much on the list about it. So I'd like to solicit some feedback from both
mentors and mentees. Let us know how your experiences have gone, what you think
of the program, and what you think could be improved.
To be fair, I'll start:
My first mentee felt uncomfortable with the bug system and wanted to learn
more about how it was used so she would feel confident when submitting and
manipulating bugs. So I decided to do a live IRC tutorial in a rather impromptu
fashion on the BTS. This seemed to go over pretty well, and I'm happy with how
it turned out. We've had other live tutorials that were advertised in advance,
and people liked them, so I think if I had planned mine beforehand and
advertised it, it might have been more effective. There was also a preliminary
document by Matt Palmer on using the BTS, which I didn't use, but is available
at least in draft form.
Beyond the announcement thing, I would have planned my tutorial a little
better in advance, but overall it went well. One problem is that my mentee
didn't really ask me much after that. I think I should have extended
invitations to keep asking me for more help/tutorials/package reviews/etc.
Since then, we see each other, but she does't ask me questions. I'm not sure if
she's just too good for me now ;-) or if I gave the impression that our
relationship was over. I think communicating the idea that the relationship
between mentor and mentee can be ongoing is important, and I should establish
that more in the future.
Since my first mentor/mentee relationship seemed to be over, I was assigned
a second mentee. She had good questions, but this came at a time when I was way
overloaded, and I really shouldn't have agreed to take someone on when I didn't
have the time. She asked very good questions, and I wasn't able to get back to
her at one point for a whole month. I didn't have time to set up proper
tutorials or anything that might have helped her, when I should have. Since the
last email after a month-long delay I haven't heard from her (it's been about
two weeks) and I assume she's dropped me as a mentor. While I want to help her
out more, this should definitely be a lesson to mentors: don't take on a mentee
if you don't have the time, you may just wind up alienating them. Hopefully
this mentee will reply but I'm worried that I did more harm than good here.
So that's my status update for the mentoring program. Things to take away
from my experience:
1) Tutorials are good. Live tutorials are really good if you can both
be on IRC at the same time.
2) Advertise your tutorial, whether they're on IRC or just a document
that you want to put on the debian women website.
3) Communicate with your mentee. The relationship can and should be
ongoing, so don't make them feel like they get a limited number of
questions to ask of you.
4) Don't take on a mentee if you don't have the time. We're all
overloaded, but try to be honest with yourself. They can demand a
lot of time and they deserve the time you can give them.
So, what does everyone else have to share? Mentors? Mentees?
- David Nusinow