8 Obstacles I Overcame as a Python Instructor

8 weeks ago, I knew that there were some challenging times ahead.

I’d received the great news that I’d been chosen to receive a Fellowship from social enterprise Code First Girls. This is an opportunity usually offered to women from a STEM degree background, so I was both excited and nervous about what was in store!

Part of this competitive leadership accelerator was teaching an Introduction to Python Programming course to 20+ women interested in learning to code.

This was going to be tough because:

  1. I only learned to code last June.
  2. All the classes were entirely remote.
  3. This was my first time teaching a coding curriculum.
  4. My co-instructors and I had never met.
  5. I was starting a new internship at the same time.
  6. We needed to provide support to students in class and throughout the week.
  7. Most of our students had never touched code before.
  8. We’re in a national lockdown!

2 months later, so I’m so proud of what my group has managed to achieve.

Here’s what I learned from those original challenges:

  1. Being new to something can be a superpower – you understand how to make concepts accessible to others.
  2. Building community online requires work, but is worth every second!
  3. Engage, adapt and improve set frameworks to the needs of your audience.
  4. Our weekly instructor pre-session meet ups and post-session debriefs helped us to quickly build a team identity, and continually improve.
  5. Sometimes, commiting to your passions is difficult (looking at you, my 8am-8.45pm Tuesdays!) but this is part of the journey.
  6. Creating clear structures for teams can help manage workload and expectations.
  7. Give students the opportunity to be self-led learners, and you’ll be astounded with what they produce.
  8. Some days, it can be easy to forget the continual pressure we’re under – be proud of yourself and your achievements.

Next, I’m looking forward to presenting the outcomes of the educational research project that I have been building with other Fellows.

I have loved my Fellowship journey, and look forward to using this experience to further my work to improve gender diversity in technology.


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