Last week my first semester as a Code First: Girls instructor came to an end. The seven weeks seemed to fly by and seeing the womens progress was so rewarding.
Our first session!
I was extremely nervous to start teaching coding for many reasons (mainly that I’d freeze up when someone asked me a question!) but by the end of the first session this had melted away.
The class had a great turnout and the enthusiasm and willingness to learn demonstrated by all the women was unbelievably inspiring!
So much so that I finished my first iteration of my portfolio! Albeit temporary but nevertheless it’s something out there! (If you fancy a peek click here.)
By the final week it was astonishing at how much they had learnt. Each woman had her own personal website by the time the course had ended – only 7 weeks after not having any knowledge on a single line of code! Their websites even included calls from the Google Maps and Forms API!
They all did an amazing job, and I’m in awe of all of them!
Our last session together!
Things I’ve learnt
- Don’t be afraid to teach, you know the topics! The chance of you saying anything wrong is slim – especially when you code for a living!
- All the women in the room want to be there, which means they all WANT to learn! You’re not going to be ignored.
- It’s such a laugh, the team I was on was perfect and our banter just bounced off each other.
- Watching the each woman’s success is truly rewarding.
- Tweeting is essential, it keeps CFG informed on what is happening in your classes #leedscodefirst
The best thing I learnt was that I know more than I think I do. Answering questions was easy – well apart from when my mind went blank when someone asked what `div` stood for! – and debugging had become second nature and I hadn’t even realised.
Which caused me to be extremely relieved as I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome for a long time, and this helped me push those negative thoughts down a lot more!
Sadly I wasn’t able to be there for all the weeks due to working away and the snow ❄️ but there definitely will be a next time as I can’t wait to do it all again (hopefully for all of it this time)!
Tips for first time volunteers
- These women are your peers so make sure you talk to them as friends
- Don’t worry that you don’t know the structure, that is what the lead volunteer is for! They’ll guide you!
- If you say something wrong, don’t worry, everyone makes mistakes!
- Set up a Facebook group so that everyone can talk, ask questions or upload their code if they need help.
- Try and get your cohort involved in the tech community, so invite them to events or conferences!
- Have fun! It sounds cheesy but it’s an amazing experience so enjoy every moment!
If you’d like to take part in a Code First:Girls course and learn how to code, take a look here! 🎓
And if this blog post has inspired you to even consider being an instructor, regardless of your gender identification, you can find the form here!💻
Being an instructor just requires giving up just one evening a week, for just two hours, for around 7-8 weeks, and basic development knowledge!
So if you’ve been on a CFG course you could consider teaching the next one! It’s so important to get involved in your local community and this is a great way to contribute to it!
And as if you needed anymore persuasion – think of the CV! 😉