Last year I was invited to give some training on HTML and CSS as part of my employer’s graduate scheme. Some of the students have a degree in computery courses, others are new to the world of programming. I had to fill around 5 hours over two mornings.
It went well. Well, the truth is, I had to change all my plans very early on. I was surprised at the points people stumbled on – I had presumed a lot of knowledge – things that I glanced over without giving it a second thought. Installing an application, creating folders, files, naming files, following syntax guidelines. I could go on. That’s before we even got into the actual thing I was trying to teach. It made me rethink a lot of my perceptions and switching things around on the fly to make the course more interactive and practical improved it a lot. I’d say I learnt more than the people I was teaching!
Fast forward a few months and I was invited to give a slimmed down version of the course at Leeds University. This time around with another person on my team. We had 2 hours to teach an introduction to HTML and CSS. This time it went quite a bit smoother – because of the previous learning but also, I think, the timeframe was shorter so we were more focussed on the task at hand.
We’ve this week done another and we have 3 more lined up to do at York, Sheffield, and Leeds (again). The course material gets refined after each session and it’s more enjoyable every time. The first time I was quite scared. I said yes in the first place to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself, and that’s exactly what is happening. It’s really nice to give something back.
It’s also been a nice reminder about how open and accessible web development is. The developer tools and resources such as MDN allow anyone to understand the structure of a website and get stuck in.
I’m trying to write down some of the things I do so I don’t think back and say to myself, “what have I done lately?”