While the thoughts are still fresh in my mind, I wanted to quickly jot down a few things about what it was like to be a TA for the Burlington chapter of Girl Develop It (GDI).
Most of what I’m feeling at the end of the day can (in a nutshell) be boiled down to: Wow, that was incredibly rewarding and everyone that codes for a living should do that at least once. And by “that” I mean get in there and help a room full of people really dig into code for the first time. It’s truly amazing what you find out about yourself and about them.
At what point do you mention that
out is going to “accidentally” coerce into the string
undefined? Before you dive in? Or after the first time that someone sees it? And how do you explain the type casting to someone who has only been messing around with JS for two hours?2
And/but… that was also where the “rewarding” part of my own experience came in.
It was really cool to see these women3 grasping with the language quirks. (Because let’s make no mistake: for as much as I love coding in JS, it has got a lot of weird quirks.) Everyone had her own analogy to bring to the table to help herself understand what we were talking about, or else she would deal with it in strictly literal terms. I saw every size, shape, and style of lightbulb flicker on in that room today.
At the end of our session today though, I asked everyone how they felt4 and whether or not they had fun. Everyone I asked told me that they had did have fun — so I feel like we (the instructor, and the TAs) did something right.
What a great group of students today. I was glad to be a part of the class and wish them all the best of luck as they move forward with their coding projects. (Not that any of them need luck.)
- And don’t get me started on how we never even brought up how they could just do
favoriteThings.join(', ')… (Just kidding! I know exactly why we didn’t talk about
- And it was almost uniformly women. We had one young man in today’s class, but everyone else was a woman. [↩]
- Most of them answered: “Tired!” [↩]