Mentoring Groups

Mentoring is a professional development opportunity that the Carpentries offers our growing instructor pool to help community members learn and grow.

Mentoring Groups support instructors in a variety of ways. Whether you are a new instructor preparing to teach your first workshop, a seasoned instructor hoping to launch workshops in a new community, or an instructor excited about getting involved with lesson development and maintenance, mentoring groups will help you gain the confidence, technical skills, and teaching skills you need to reach your goal.

Mentors guide small groups of no more than five mentees toward a particular outcome. Outcomes might be anything from teaching a specific lesson (i.e. Version Control with Git) to making a meaningful contribution to one of our lessons.


Mentor Agreement

I agree to follow the Code of Conduct in all communications and interactions with The Carpentries community and to promptly report any violations of the CoC that I become aware of.

When interacting with my mentoring group, I agree to

  • communicate The Carpentries community values to mentees and model that behaviour myself in how I mentor,
  • provide a welcoming and supporting environment for mentees,
  • avoid dismissive language, question my expert blind spot, and model error-making as a vital part of the mentoring process.

I understand that it is important to keep in touch with The Carpentries community so that my mentorship will reflect current practices. I agree to:

  • stay active in one or more Carpentries communication channels,
  • keep up-to-date with changes to the lesson(s) I teach, and
  • provide feedback to the Mentoring Subcommittee and Carpentries staff to help continue improving our mentoring groups.

Mentoring Groups Highlights

We are offering curriculum-specific mentoring this time around. Both mentors and mentees can choose which tools they are most interested in from the following list:

  • Git
  • Shell
  • Python
  • R
  • SQL

Once a topic has been picked, participants can choose the type of mentoring they want for their chosen tool:

  • Lesson Maintenance
    • Contributing to current lesson development
    • Contributing to lesson maintenance
  • Teaching Workshops
    • Developing confidence and skill in teaching
    • Preparing to teach a specific lesson (i.e. Python)

We will also offer mentoring that is more general in nature. For those who would like to develop greater skill in community building, either of these mentoring opportunities might suit:

  • Organizing Workshops
    • Logistics of organizing a workshop (e.g. marketing, registration)
    • Logistics of running a workshop (e.g. recruiting instructors, distributing tasks)
  • Community Building
    • Strategies to build local communities
    • Tried-and-true events that help foster local communities

An additional highlight includes the opportunity to participate in in-person mentoring groups.

During the final week of the mentoring groups, we will host a virtual mentoring groups showcase. During this event, the community can hear about the projects on which the mentoring groups worked.

Lastly, both mentors and mentees will receive a certificate!

Mentoring Groups Outline

Groups are encouraged to set SMART goals to be achieved. The following are sample mentoring group outlines. Groups are free to decide how to spend their time.

Sample Mentoring Group Outline: Lesson Maintenance

  • Introductions, review the Carpentries community culture, and communication channels.
  • Review and discussion lesson objectives.
  • Meeting with Lesson Maintainers to discuss challenges and opportunities.
  • Review, discuss, and comment on lesson issues. Identify a representative to attend the mid-way touch base.
  • Review, discuss, and comment on lesson pull requests.
  • Discuss current challenge questions. Write new challenge questions to be added to the pool of challenge questions.
  • Submit new challenge questions as pull requests. Draft one slide for the mentoring group showcase.
  • Finish slide for mentoring group showcase. Attend mentoring group showcase.

Sample Mentoring Group Outline: Teaching Workshops

  • Introductions, review the Carpentries community culture, and communication channels.
  • Review and discuss instructor notes.
  • “Tag-team” teaching each module of the lesson. Provide feedback to group members.
  • First mock quarter/half day workshop with group members. Identify a representative to attend the mid-way touch base.
  • Second mock quarter/half day workshop with group members. Draft one slide for the mentoring group showcase.
  • Finish slide for mentoring group showcase. Attend mentoring group showcase.

Sample Mentoring Group Outline: Organizing Workshops

  • Introductions, review the Carpentries community culture, and communication channels.
  • Introduce existing workshop resources. Identify challenges for organizers.
  • Walkthrough of workshop set up using checklists. Discuss workshop planning tools, e.g. Eventbrite, spreadsheets.
  • Identify potential issues and how to resolve them, e.g. ‘no shows’, CoC violations, refunds. Identify sources of help.
  • Draft one slide for the mentoring group showcase. Identify a representative to attend the mid-way touch base.
  • Identify resource gaps, e.g. issues that are not covered by existing checklists and procedures.
  • Finish slide for mentoring group showcase. Attend mentoring group showcase.

Sample Mentoring Group Outline: Community Building

  • Introductions, review the Carpentries community culture, and communication channels.
  • Discuss desired local outcome. Discuss existing community, if any. Identify stakeholders and potential supporters.
  • Discuss community building methods used elsewhere (e.g. ResBaz, Hacky Hours, MeetUps, communities of practice).
  • Discuss the use of communication tools such as Slack and Gitter channels.
  • Identify a representative to attend the mid-way touch base.
  • Draft one slide for the mentoring group showcase. Identify a representative to attend the mid-group touch base.
  • Draft a plan for a local community building event that includes a marketing strategy.
  • Review plans collectively. Identify gaps or further resources needed.
  • Finish slide for mentoring group showcase. Attend mentoring group showcase.

Mentoring Session Checklist

At minimum, in each session we recommend that you identify goals to be achieved, and set a date/time for the next meeting. Here are a few more items that you may choose to include in each mentoring session.

  • Introductions and Icebreakers
  • Review the Carpentries communication channels.
  • Review and discuss mentoring group objectives.
  • Discuss current challenges around your mentoring topic questions.
  • Set SMART Goals to surmount the groups challenges.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the mentoring groups please contact Kari L. Jordan.