7 Things I Learned Teaching My First Programming Class

Wanna to start a code club? No money? No equipment? Shit. Well, you better have some brass neck, mate. Here are some things of note you may learn along the way:

1. People care about this

There’s a hunger for learning. People in threadbare communities know just how important this stuff is. They are smart, capable but lack resources and opportunities.

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2. Collaboration is wonderful

Encourage it in your students. Learning new technical skills is hard, so pairing people together is a good approach. It makes class immediately more social, supportive and fun.

3. Some people need more help than others

Class is only as successful as the most challenged student. If you can bring them along with patience and creativity, you’ve won. Remember, it’s a foreign language.

4. Hustle!

Beg, borrow and steal everything you need. Being a shameless self-promoter matters. It’s not a natural pose for me, but I suppose my being talented and good-looking helps. See?

5. Make allies

Lots of people want you to succeed. Who can help you get this done? I’m trying to find that out.

6. Share the load

Doing this alone is hard work. I know. Ask for help, and lean on your students. I’m going to do more of this next week.

7. Find inspiring stories

Everything has it’s cultural context. Starting the class with the Mae Jemison story was an electrifying entry. It said, “This is your house. There’s a place for you here, too.”

Here’s how it went down: