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James Yuen

discussion What prevents you from mentoring?

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James Yuen

Over the past few years, I've been through many divisions (:/) and seen many different styles of mentoring. However, there's a tendency for two things in VATUK:

1. A lot of mentors who are active for a few months and then stop mentoring (for a substantial period of time)

2. A lot of sessions required for students on average

To address the first point for other mentors/students to see: what is preventing you from mentoring? Here are a few brief points from me:

- Obvious one: real world time constraints

- Students between sessions: Some of the stuff I end up covering in sessions can be covered by the student outside/in between sessions as theory

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Harry Downton

Morning James,

This is my personal opinion, I mentored a few years ago a lot - Lead Mentor at Gatwick for a period too before Andy took over from me. Although, the interest for helping people never disappears, the mentoring team changes, staff structure changes and new process are implemented - some of which you may not agree with and it is in the best interest of the students to stand back, remove politics and mentor when you feel you are at your best to do so, whilst remaining current. 

There is a line, a very clear line between mentoring officially and unofficially, I took the opinion that I did not have to be in a position to help people by being in a staff/mentoring position, which at the time I was unable to commit to full time (or at least as much as I wanted too). I still mentored for a time after, helped Andy and performed pre-exams etc

If you mentor too much, to try and prove yourself (and to others) there is no need to, it becomes mundane and you then are doing it because you feel you have too. That is the time I stepped down. 

I can provide advice, if anyone asks, without having the 'Mentor' tag. 

If there was a pool, like there was previously, mentors who (who are dedicated to one place if they choose) can only do lets say a couple of sessions a month, I would be interested. The majority of those will have extensive experience across a range of positions too and will not have just read the vMATS and Crib Sheets, then mentor. Unfortunately, you cannot know every position in the North or the South, you know the airport you know and then you mentor at it. 

Regards,

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Ryan Alderton

(Again, my own opinion) I personally think there should be a set “syllabus” for ATC training - sort of like Essex RTS had back in the day, so in the first session you say cover Syllabus “T1, T2, T3” which each element of the syllabus would be officially set out so there is no overlap between sessions, which I ultimately believe will be able to reduce session amounts needed for training. 

 

Sometimes a a lack of organisation can be accredited to mentor retention - for example if your TG are a bit unorganised then some might get a little annoyed of not knowing what’s going on with which student, which again I believe could be eliminated with a “central database”, such as a spreadsheet, or potentially an actual database with web app that each students progress could be detailed on, which I’m sure the web team are perfectly skilled to be able to implement if it is deemed required.

 

 

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Richard Keen

Would gladly come out of retirement and mentor again but I'm not prepared to take an OTC to do something I used to do before (city..Biggin..Thames..Gatwick etc)  and I'm more then likely to be more experienced then the person doing it any way, I know of a few who feel the same. And it's surprising to see the amount of simple mistakes being made that should have been ironed out during mentoring...wrong sids...wrong levels for direction of flight etc etc .

 

 It's shocking to see people who have just past exams or been recently  validated becoming mentors ...there should be a 50 plus hour min time on a position before you can mentor it .

Edited by Richard Keen

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Oliver Parker

First time I stopped mentoring was because I didn't feel like the mentors were allowed to make any meaningful progress in terms of forwarding their student towards exam standard.

It always came down to somebody up the hierarchy saying 'I think you just need another sweatbox' or 'One more session of consolidation is required'.

That bored me after I heard it with a lot of students and they soon gave up after I did. Shame really. Think that has changed a bit now given how many more people are passing.

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Andy Ford
1 hour ago, Richard Keen said:

 It's shocking to see people who have just past exams or been recently  validated becoming mentors ...there should be a 50 plus hour min time on a position before you can mentor it .

Given that we struggle for mentors at the best of times, is it not fair to say that beggars cannot be choosers?

Besides, if someone passes with a strong performance, waiting for a set amount of time becomes nothing more than red tape. I'm not insinuating that everyone automatically becomes a mentor, but having hard restrictions can be counterproductive.

Anyway, back to the original post - usually when I go on (brief - max 1 week) mentoring breaks it's when I'm doing things for Web or just if I'm feeling tired due to being busy in real life.

Edited by Andy Ford

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Richard Keen
54 minutes ago, Andy Ford said:

Given that we struggle for mentors at the best of times, is it not fair to say that beggars cannot be choosers?

Besides, if someone passes with a strong performance, waiting for a set amount of time becomes nothing more than red tape. I'm not insinuating that everyone automatically becomes a mentor, but having hard restrictions can be counterproductive.

Anyway, back to the original post - usually when I go on (brief - max 1 week) mentoring breaks it's when I'm doing things for Web or just if I'm feeling tired due to being busy in real life.

So why have an otc check for experienced ex mentors? Sounds stupid as you struggle to find mentors .

Edited by Richard Keen

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Ross Gunn

May i just add that i have controlled with Richard keen and also flown in when he has been controlling and Richard is one of the best controllers i find on Vatsim.  I have even commented to him directly on frequency he should be a mentor as he is very good at controlling and excellent at helping pilots who are new as he spends time helping them.

Edited by Ross Gunn

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Andy Ford
1 hour ago, Richard Keen said:

So why have an otc check for experienced ex mentors? Sounds stupid as you struggle to find mentors .

I guess it depends on many factors. How long they haven't been mentoring, where did they mentor before vs where do they want to mentor now, have they been away from the network altogether in that time etc. In any case, I don't think 90 minutes with an instructor is excessive to make sure everything's all ok.

Edited by Andy Ford

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Trevor Hannant

I've been lax on mentoring on for different reasons.  

First was to focus on my own APP training given the scarcity of mentors in the old RTS I was in - wanted to make sure that the limited time that I had available was available to receive training.

Secondly, over the past couple of years, my shift patterns haven't exactly been conducive to picking up sessions.  In face, for a couple of months, I checked the availability calendar a couple of times a week and had no times that students were available at the same time as I could be (due shifts).

Thirdly, I've had that discussion with DSG members and there it shall stay...

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Richard Keen
1 hour ago, Andy Ford said:

I guess it depends on many factors. How long they haven't been mentoring, where did they mentor before vs where do they want to mentor now, have they been away from the network altogether in that time etc. In any case, I don't think 90 minutes with an instructor is excessive to make sure everything's all ok.

yet some one who just becomes an S2 or S3 is able to mentor ????

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Matthew Collier
4 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

So why have an otc check for experienced ex mentors? Sounds stupid as you struggle to find mentors .

Hi Richard

Thank you for your post. When a mentor is returning, we ask for an 'unofficial' OTS check. We do this purely to make sure the mentor is up to date with new procedures at the field(s) they wish to mentor at. You last mentored in November 2013 and there have been many procedure changes since you left. Even though you're an active controller, we just need to reaffirm that the mentor can relay new procedures to students in training. If you've any further queries regarding mentoring, please don't hesitate to open a ticket in the helpdesk.

Thanks,

Edited by Matthew Collier

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Richard Keen
26 minutes ago, Matt Collier said:

Hi Richard

Thank you for your post. When a mentor is returning, we ask for an 'unofficial' OTS check. We do this purely to make sure the mentor is up to date with new procedures at the field(s) they wish to mentor at. You last mentored in November 2013 and there have been many procedure changes since you left. Even though you're an active controller, we just need to reaffirm that the mentor can relay new procedures to students in training. If you've any further queries regarding mentoring, please don't hesitate to open a ticket in the helpdesk.

Thanks,

again as above ..some one who is a new Tower controller can just go straight into mentoring were as experianced mentors have to take a OTS .. whats the waiting time on that ? a few days to a week maybe more , could do about 6 mentoring sessions in that time , procedures dont change that much and as you say im an active controller at the airports i wish to mentor so would be upto date on procedures any way .

Edited by Richard Keen

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Matthew Collier
32 minutes ago, Richard Keen said:

again as above ..some one who is a new Tower controller can just go straight into mentoring were as experianced mentors have to take a OTS .. whats the waiting time on that ? a few days to a week maybe more , could do about 6 mentoring sessions in that time , procedures dont change that much and as you say im an active controller at the airports i wish to mentor so would be upto date on procedures any way .

Hi Richard

No one can pass an exam and go straight into mentoring. Every new mentor requires experience and an OTS before becoming a mentor.

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Alex Ashley
37 minutes ago, Richard Keen said:

again as above ..some one who is a new Tower controller can just go straight into mentoring were as experianced mentors have to take a OTS .. whats the waiting time on that ? a few days to a week maybe more , could do about 6 mentoring sessions in that time , procedures dont change that much and as you say im an active controller at the airports i wish to mentor so would be upto date on procedures any way .

I’m not sure really how returning mentors deserve the right to skip an unofficial OTS like Matt has described. It’s a good way to make sure the mentoring team is on the same page and ensures a way for the ATD to get an idea of styles and methods for improvement with regards. No one is a perfect mentor, and OTSs are a good way to help improve.

When I have had an OTS session, I’ve often forgot someone was sitting in. As has been pointed out before in several threads, they’re not there to criticise you.

Personally, if mentor resources allowed I would be happy to receive a regular OTS check.

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Tom Bewick
8 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

Would gladly come out of retirement and mentor again but I'm not prepared to take an OTC to do something I used to do before (city..Biggin..Thames..Gatwick etc)  and I'm more then likely to be more experienced then the person doing it any way

That's absolutely ridiculous. Any kind of 'check' is there for a reason... Yeah you did it before, woop de doo...(!) New things get implemented all the time, new SOPs, new software, new developments. OTS or OTC checks, or whatever they're referred to as, are everywhere and to say that the only reason you're not mentoring is because you have to do an OTS check? BAH! 

I did it before and I'd happily do a check by the way. I don't even care if I know more than the checker, fair enough. It's there for a reason. 

 

6 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

So why have an otc check for experienced ex mentors? Sounds stupid as you struggle to find mentors .

"Experienced ex mentors". Hold on a minute love. If the experienced 'old school' C1 or C3 is anything to go by... They may be experienced but they're far from decent. Me father tells me he's a better driver cos he's been driving 35 years. His partner also has been driving 35 years, but has crashed 7 times in the last 9 months. Doesn't mean she's any decent just cos she's got experience. What a load of codswallop, sir! Boo hiss boo!

Edited by Tom Bewick

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Michael Benson

Not that I really wish to do a real vs virtual, but

13 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

Would gladly come out of retirement and mentor again but I'm not prepared to take an OTC to do something I used to do before 

I'm required to do a check every 2 years to keep my real instructor rating, regardless of how experienced I am, how much I've controlled in the last x months, etc.

I do agree though that people becoming mentors just because they've passed the test is a paper over crack exercise and leads to problems further down the line.

 

I don't mentor as I got bored of students been more interested in rising through the ratings as quickly as possible than actually wanting to learn.

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Anthony Lawrence
16 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

So why have an otc check for experienced ex mentors? Sounds stupid as you struggle to find mentors .

 

18 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

And it's surprising to see the amount of simple mistakes being made that should have been ironed out during mentoring

It would seem you've made two statements that are at odds with one another?  Given that it's been nearly 4 years since your last mentoring session, by your own admission there should be a process of "ironing out mistakes" (ergo, some kind of over the shoulder check).

To be blunt Richard, if I was in charge of pooling mentors, then my first point of call wouldn't be somebody who doesn't agree with, or wish to follow, the training procedures of the division.  If you aren't prepared to go through an OTS (which given your experience, you should be fine at) then what hope is there of you following other procedures?

18 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

I'm more then likely to be more experienced then the person doing it

It's statements like this that often cause issues in any workplace or environment - years on the network, don't equate to anything (as Tom has alluded to).  More importantly, what you've had is a different experience to the person that is likely to be conducting the OTS, not necessarily a better one.  I've worked alongside people who have held a grudge because they're older/"more experienced" than myself (one in particular felt they should have my role) and people with that mindset are very difficult to work with, as everything is a battle, despite everyone sharing a common goal!

12 hours ago, Richard Keen said:

whats the waiting time on that ? a few days to a week maybe more , could do about 6 mentoring sessions in that time

Given that you've been refusing to do an OTS for as long as I can remember, think about how many mentoring session you could have done in that time, if you just got on and did the OTS.  If you want to do it for the students then you'd have done it already....

Edited by Anthony Lawrence

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Luke Brown

Filling in mentoring reports.

Last time I was properly mentoring, we had to include tons of gumpf for each session.

I do enough paperwork at work, filling in a long winded session report doesn't entertain me

If I can give a good verbal debrief, explaining with a couple of screenshots maybe, then it's up to the student to take notes on that, right?

 

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Ryan Alderton
13 minutes ago, Luke Brown said:

Filling in mentoring reports.

In my opinion, the only real reason for reports - if you do a verbal debrief - is for the next mentor to be able to know what was covered. I usually just tend to put "No issues" or "We didn't cover this", and include any important links that may be required, as I verbally debrief the student in the session, as I find it to be easier to get your point across.

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