Dave Neary has written an interesting blogpost on 'effective mentoring'.
If you don't feel like reading the whole thing (it's big, yes) I can give you some highlights on common issues that make mentoring less effective:
- communication. Apprentices often expect their mentor to check in, the mentor expects apprentices to ask questions if they have any. This means it is a wise thing to contact your apprentice and:
- ask how it is going, if they need any help
- tell them they have to be pro-active: ask questions and give you reports. Just to correct their perception if they expected YOU to ask them! Make clear it has to be pull from their side, it won't be push from yours. Their GSOC project is their responsibility.
- Mentoring doesn't stop in August: realize YOU are the friendly face to the project for the student/apprentice. Please be prepared to keep talking to the students and help them, even (especially!) if GSOC is over! And tell them so.
- Regular meeting are really important. Have a weekly IRC chat and just talk. Both about personal things (get to know each other!) and about the project.
- And please tell the students to help each other and others. That is both a learning experience for them, AND they understand others who are new better than anyone!
If you have questions, please ask on the mentor mailinglist, not only on IRC. Others can learn from the answers. Others here includes me, btw, I love to know what issues you bump into!
Good luck mentoring and remember, we want the students to STAY, not just fire some code at us and go again ;-)