Mentor Frequently Asked Questions

Who, what, where

Do I need qualifications?

Formal teaching qualifications are not required to be a successful BSOL mentor. It is much more important to be tolerant, patient, flexible, have a sense of humour and be understanding. An interest in people and a wish to help without being patronising are also important. However, you will be asked to attend a training session for new mentors.

Where will I teach?

This is negotiable between you and your student. Some mentors prefer a neutral place such as the library, others use their home or the student’s home. Our preference is to teach on the learner's own computing device. Portable devices like a laptop or tablet offer more possibilities than a desktop computer.

BSOL carries Voluntary Workers insurance and Public Liability Insurance.

How often will I teach?

Again this is negotiable between you and your student. Some mentors only have time to take one student, others many. We recommend a limit of one hour per lesson and most mentors see the student on average once per week.

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How long will I teach?

Most learners have limited computer skills and some have a greater capacity for learning than others. Where possible we teach to requirements of the learner, within the skills and comfort level of the mentor. Continue teaching until such time that, in your opinion, the basic requirements have been covered with sufficient revision or until the learner indicates that they no longer require tuition. There is a flexible guideline of twelve lessons with follow-up support by email or phone as required for the remainder of the student's membership.

Does this mean I can't take holidays etc?

Most mentors will arrange tasks for their learners if they are away on holiday.  Before a period of absence, always schedule the next lesson so the learner knows when to expect your return and when lessons will resume. It is also a good idea to set homework goals to make sure they use the computer in between lessons. If a mentor is going to be away for a lengthy period please tell your hub coordinator and we may arrange a temporary mentor if one is available.

What teaching material is available?

Mentors have access to the mentors-only pages of our website, where they can find useful lesson notes, handouts and programs which will assist them in their student coaching. This is updated regularly. The BSOL City Training Centre also has a collection of books and other materials designed for computer tuition. In addition, most mentors will want to use other resource material relevant to the student’s particular needs, e.g. learning web sites - the URL links to which are available from the BSOL web site.