Yacapaca mentoring is a system that gives support to students outside of school hours, by allowing them to tap the shared expertise of our teacher members.
We charge students (or rather their parents) for this, and pay teachers who choose to participate.
How it works Students enter questions, and tag them by subject. We send each question to several different teachers of that subject - but never to their own class teacher. You will see the question(s) in your Yacapaca inbox, and also receive them by email.
You can choose to reply to any question you receive. Sometimes this will turn into a conversation. Once the student is satisfied, s/he will mark the conversation 'closed'. If more than one teacher answered the question, s/he will indicate which answer was most useful. We use this information to calculate your 'reputation' - the quality of your answers as rated by students - which affects your remuneration.
How do I opt in/opt out? If you are a regular user of Yacapaca, you will be sent questions automatically. To opt in, simply start answering the questions. If you ignore the questions, the system will notice and they will soon peter out. To opt out completely, uncheck the "Mentor" checkbox in your profile (link).
How much do you pay teachers and charge parents? Currently, we charge parents £9.90/week for unlimited use of the system. We pay teachers up to £1.00 per answer, depending on their 'reputation'. And yes, we have worked out that we will take a loss on students who ask more than 10 questions per week - but then those are the kids that we most want to support.
How to be the ideal mentor
- Not all students will ask sensible or well-formed questions. Here are a few simple rules for best practice: they are pretty much what you would do as a teacher anyway:
- Respect the individual and seek to help them, especially if they don't know how to string together a sensible question.
- Your job is to help them learn, not do their homework for them.
- Always ask yourself what the student needs to understand, not what s/he needs to know. Knowledge can, and should, be looked up.
- Wherever you can simply give a reference, do so. It's often better than writing an explanation yourself, and far less work.