Being A Code First:Girls Instructor

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.

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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!

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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.
On a personal level, teaching on the HTML, CSS and JavaScript course taught me that I no longer have to worry about whether I know the basics anymore!
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!

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The instructors!


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! 😉

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