To make your sessions successful, you need to have good mentors. You don't necessarily need someone with a huge knowledge of programming languages. You are looking for people who can teach others and can inspire them to learn.
For new CodeUp branches, you should contact your local developer community groups. There are also people who like to travel and help out with this kind of event.
Make sure you have a backup plan if one or more of your mentors doesn't show up.
Call for mentors Edit
It is important to start looking for mentors as soon as possible. You could create a signup form for them, including questions such as this:
- What's your name?
- What's your e-mail?
- Your Github username if you have one.
- What operating systems are you comfortable with? (Windows | Mac OS X | Linux | Other)
- What languages do you work with?
- Would you have time to meetup with an organiser for a briefing before your first event?
- Do you have any previous experience with teaching others? Tell us about it.
You can use different services like Google Forms or Typeform to create this. When your form is done, add a link to it on the mentors section of the website.
How many mentors do I need? Edit
Sessions work best with a ratio of one mentor to every three attendees, but you can't always prepare for the number of people arriving, or the languages they will want to learn.
If you find that you have more attendees than your mentors can cope with, workshops can be run with much larger groups, and take the pressure away from your remaining mentors. Also, having a list of go-to tutorials for common languages means you can set attendees off learning and step in only when they need help, providing a less hands-on session for the mentor.
How to find mentors? Edit
There are lots of ways to do that but here are some ideas for you:
- Google. Almost every city has some sort of local community of developers. Identify a local developer meetup or user group and just attend it. Ask the organiser for a couple of minutes on the microphone and don't be afraid to explain what CodeUp is and ask for their help. We're sure you'll find someone who will be willing to help.
- Identify the local companies who hire developers and send them an email asking for help.
- Ask friends and friends of friends for help. You never know how connections can go a long way. Often one key person can introduce you further.
How to choose the mentors? Edit
Mentors are important, so it is good to know they are people you trust and are friendly, patient and willing to help. You need somebody who will invest their time before, during and after the workshop.
At CodeUp we don't expect mentors to attend every meetup without fail, we understand that people have other things going on, and that CodeUp is a voluntary activity. It's ok for mentors to only turn up once in awhile if that's all the time they can spare, just ask them to RSVP so you can know who to expect.
Meta Mentors Edit
We think it is a good idea to have one more experienced mentors that are not assigned to any group of learners. Not all of your mentors need to be super advanced. When difficult challenges pop up, having an experienced mentor available to assist in working through the problem is very helpful.
If meta mentors are used, it is important that as their name implies, meta mentors are mentors for mentors (say that ten times fast).This means all of the mentoring rules, tips & tricks apply: Meta mentors are available to help, not to take over. Set the expectation among your meta mentors that they should always acknowledge and communicate with the mentor before helping a member of their group, ideally working through the problem together. This approach ensures mentors remain empowered and that in addition to learners getting the help they need, mentors become better mentors. A perfect recipe for a meta mentor!
Mentor briefing Edit
It is good to try and meet up with potential mentors before their first event. CodeUp sessions can be quite hectic and different to other meetups, so it's nice to sit down and explain how everything works in person before they get involved. It's also a good idea to send them the mentor manual to help them prepare.
Some information worth mentioning:
- mentors should be allowed to arrive 30 minutes before attendees, so they have time to raise any questions before the madness commences
- it's important to highlight that they should provide help for the attendees not only with the technical details - it will make the attendees feel safe if the coach will know some other details
- ask the mentors if they want to contribute running a workshop, or leading a group through an online tutorial