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Re: Mentoring Feedback

--- David Nusinow <david_nusinow@verizon.net> wrote:
> Hi everyone!

Hi :)

> 	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.

I think it's a great idea that we all shared our
experiences :)

> 	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.

The IRC tutorial was really good, and I learnt a lot
from it. I'm also happy with how it turned out :)

A nice thing about live IRC tutorials is that other
people apart from mentor and mentee also join it, and
it's really nice because you can learn a lot from
other's questions and answers that maybe didn't come
out to your mind in the moment.

> 	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.

Yes, that can be a side effect of IRC live tutorials,
they work like a sudden flash, they keep you thinking
about it for some days, and it's maybe not that easy
to recover smoothly from it. I'm still very far from
understanding BTS as a whole, even though I've learnt
enough to be able to manage my own packages' bugs
when/if they appear, as well as file bugs I might find
for other packages.

The problem I find with something as big and complex
as the BTS is that it is a bit overwhelming for me. I
don't know if it has happened to someone else, but
there's a point in which you can see that you need to
learn more, but you see everything so complex that you
cannot even think of where to start from, or what to
ask. At least those are my feelings about it.

As an example, in the first BSPs I attended I tried
very hard to find and solve some bugs, which I managed
to do with the help of different people, but on the
following ones I spent hours searching for something
to do on my own, and even when I had being told about
how BTS goes and understood it, and also I attended to
Vorlon's speech, but I was really unable to do
anything but losing my time. Seeing everybody so busy
also kept me a bit restrained from keeping asking. I'm
not sure if I'm the only one who has felt like this.

Anyway, on the whole, I learnt a lot from that
experience :)

> 	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.

I agree with you in all those points :)

> So, what does everyone else have to share? Mentors?
> Mentees?

I'll also try to share my experience as a mentor, but
I don't have enough time now, so I'll leave it for a
later message.

>  - David Nusinow


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