Teaching At Le Wagon
I first joined Le Wagon as a teacher in September 2017. The in-person full-stack web development course at Le Wagon is a 9-week program, that starts at programming fundamentals and culminates in building a fullstack web application deployed on Heroku, ready for users. I began as a teaching assistant helping students debug during their 5 hour challenges section that takes up most of the day after lectures. I later began teaching the 4-day database module, which starts with conceptual learning about schema, the basics of plain SQL queries, moving on to more advanced topics like JOIN statements, and finally how to use (and be thankful for) object-relational mapping systems like ActiveRecord.
As I got good feedback from 3 bootcamps I taught database basics, I was given the opportunity to teach the software architecture module which is notoriously difficult for a lot of new programmers as it covers OOP, class and instance methods, inheritance, and MVC. A lot of big-brain concepts that are very crucial for the rest of the camp, but in the scope of things it's really only the second and third weeks of the bootcamp. So while it's important to get the pedagogical aspects right, there's also a high degree of empathy that's required when teaching this module. I'm happy to say that feedback was mostly very positive and I the students did really grasp the concepts as well as they possibly could in the 1.5 weeks allotted to the module. This was a big challenge for me as a teacher and I think it went as well as it could have. I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to teach it and do it even better next time.
Co-Managing a Bootcamp
In addition to teaching, I spent time managing the Le Wagon camp in Chengdu, China. My responsibilities spread out across a few areas:
Prior to the start of bootcamp, talking with prospective students about the risks, opportunities, and expectations of joining a full-time 9-week coding bootcamp. Not just selling them on the bootcamp, but helping them mentally prepare;
Prior to and during the bootcamp, communicating with teachers about expectations and taking lessons learned from prior bootcamp experiences and developing strategies to avoid previously encountered pain points;
During bootcamp keeping morale among students and teachers high. For students it can be an emotionally draining experience – deciding to career switch, then diving headfirst into a full-time technically challenging atmosphere brings a lot of emotions to the surface. It's not uncommon for students to doubt their choice or their capabilities when being pushed so hard every day. And since each Le Wagon branch is only as successful as its students are, you want them performing as well as possible.
One Day of Code
With everyone in China using miniprograms, Le Wagon Chengdu began to teach miniprograms as part of the curriculum. To assist with our outreach efforts, I altered our One Day of Code workshop to be a One Day of WeChat Miniprograms. I ran the workshop several times: the materials I had to create and provide included a slide deck, a Github repository with code samples, and of course live coding. The two major differences from the original workshop series were these: all development happened in the WeChat IDE, and the landing page we created was built for mobile. Those materials have been built upon, adapted, and continue to be used for Le Wagon workshops in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Chengdu.