16th February , 2018

Why I'm delving into private Frontend mentorship

Over the last 3 years I have spent most weeks teaching people 1-on-1 on Skype. Although it's not always been my main source of income, it's been an integral part of my life. I worked for a online bootcamp company called Bloc.io and they opened my eyes to what it would be like to teach for a living. At the beginning I was pretty scared and unsure of myself, but slowly I grew into a mentor I would have liked for myself.

The pros of Bloc was that I didn't have to look for my own students. I didn't really have to do my own marketing apart from update my profile page on Bloc. They made it easy to teach, with the materials being ready for you to go. Each assignment and homework was set up for you so you don't even need to do lesson preparations. All of this is great, but you lose some of the humanity of mentoring when the railroads are so tight. You become a human cog in the machine that is the bootcamp. I found myself teaching material I didn't want to teach, because the syllabus was lagging behind the rest of the frontend development world.

I understand why bootcamps have to be like this, it creates a system where mentors are not relied on entirely for the system to succeed. Bloc has continually reduced reliance on mentors. At first they tried to hire less experienced mentors to "teach" the fundamentals. This has a couple of problems, firstly it splits up the student to have two mentors in the frontend section of the course. So when a students comes into learning frameworks and advaned Javascript the mentor has very little visibility on the progress of that student. They also don't have any rapport and the student has also lost the rapport he has with his first mentor. Secondly they are reduced mentor responsibilities by not relying on mentors to mark homework and not having to answer questions outside meeting times. With the system being reduced to this, I felt my experience was being wasted in such an environment and that I could better help my students by being an actual mentor and not just a question and answer bot.

So, I've decided to start my own private mentoring scheme and teach my students the way I would want to be taught. With this I can adjust my syllabus depending on the student's time and ability. I don't have to worry about my students 'falling behind' and them losing their money back guarantee that Bloc provides. I can finally bring the human touch back to my mentorship and concentrating on teaching.