#WIT: Teaching With Girls Who Code is a Great Way to Volunteer
One of the perks working at Salesforce is Volunteer Time Off (VTO). Salesforce essentially pays me to go do volunteer work for four hours a month, or 6 days a year.
I’m a female developer at Salesforce and I had been toying with the idea of teaching at a coding club for my VTO. However, the thought of facing a classroom full of high school girls was intimidating. Will they relate to me? What if they end up hating my class? Do I really want to subject myself to this?
I thought about it for a long while before taking the plunge with Girls Who Code, which is a non-profit organization that does background checks on their instructors, trains them via online videos, provides curriculum, and supports the clubs throughout the academic year. I’ve now been teaching for 6 months, and it’s been an awesome experience!
The club I teach is called San Mateo Unified High School District Girls Who Code Club, which meets at the Burlingame Library on Sunday afternoons. It’s a large club with students from several schools in the area – Burlingame High School, Aragon High School, San Mateo High School, and Mills High School.
The best part is when I see eyes light up and hear excitement in the girls’ voices saying, “Look! I got it working!” It reminds me why I got into this field in the first place. The thrill of figuring out a problem and getting software to work never gets old. Knowing that I was instrumental in a girl seeing what’s fun and addictive about coding is icing on the cake. I also love when my students exceed expectations. I had one of my star students come up with an alternate way to solve a tricky programming assignment the curriculum didn’t have. I was so happy and impressed to see that.
If even a few students consider a major in computer science because of my efforts, it would be so worth it. And even if they don’t, I hope they will leave knowing that coding is fun and that they are just as good at it as anyone else.
If you are a coder, I encourage you to find a club in your area and teach. Instead of dwelling on the lack of women in technology, you’ll be out there making a difference and feeling great about it too.
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