Yaa Otchere

Websites from scratch for people who work with people

Teach what you know

Teaching has been the single best way for me to keep learning and keep on my toes. I started my pivot into the technical sector in September 2015 and I have found myself teaching what I know since then. At first it was talking through concepts with my classmates at HackerYou and working together during code alongs or pair programming. I could get immediate feedback from them about how they would do it and I could walk them through my thinking. It as great and we learned a lot.

Things would stick more and more as we talked it out and tried it out. It went a step further when I would show my friends how to animate something with CSS or take them through a key lesson point. I was exhilarated when we could share toothy grins as we implement something. It would send my curious mind whirling when a buddy would ask me a question. I’d have to try a few different examples to drive the point home and in doing so, I would have a couple aha moments.

The natural and super brave transition from teaching friends would be to teach a room full of eager learners, through Ladies Learning Code and that is exactly what I did. As a person who had only started to learn this stuff went for it. I went for it and taught my first lesson and absolutely loved it. I’m teaching another workshop for National Learn to Code Day and I am super stoked. Come by! It is a national event, so anyone in Canada can take part!

The overall experience of teaching has really solidified how important building community is. We all have something that we know and there is a small army of supporters that are on board and cheer us on. They are our immediate community. There is a bigger community out there of people who have heard of this “tech stuff” and want to know more. They want to test out learning something new and may not know where to start. This is where we all come in. People who can bang out a website can totally be teachers.

With tech we always have something to learn and a good way to keep it sealed in the brain is to teach it. Outside of tech we are all experts on something even if we don’t acknowledge that. Are you an admin whizz who can use Excel with your eyes closed? That is amazing! And a well honed skill. Share that, build up your presentation skills! You might think to yourself, “That isn’t anything special.” but with all due respect, you are wrong. You have a whole lot to share that is worthy and that people want to know.

We all have something worthy to share and we can all be teachers. Even if your voice shakes when you get up to present – that is okay. You did the thing and got up there and shared what you know. Now, you don’t need to go speak at a 500 seated conference to get this done and done. You can totally start with your friends, your coworkers… even at Meetups. The important part os to start valuing the awesome knowledge in your noggin and sharing that with people. It is an exhilarating experience to take part in other peoples learning!

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