In the past 10 days I’ve been a coach on two different Rails Girls events: in Poznań and Barcelona. It was great to see 50 girls, mostly completely new to programming, create their first websites. I liked the enthusiasm, the willingless to learn and the joy of presenting the results.
However, I won’t be doing that anymore. I won’t be a coach at a Rails Girls event.
Firstly, because of the “Girls” part. I don’t care that it’s hard to interest them in programming. It’s hard to interest nerds like me in rugby and it doesn’t mean there should be Rugby Nerds events (well, actually I’d be interested in attending one of those, but you get the point). I’m happy to teach somebody already willing to learn, but discovering how cool programming can be is a task I’d leave for themselves.
However, I care about the fact that I don’t want to be again in a situation where a friend who wants to learn how to program asks me if he can attend and I’m forced to say „Well, not really. You’re not a girl.”. That’s not opening up the community.
Secondly, because of the “Rails” part. I don’t think teaching Rails is a particularly good introduction to programming. I want to explain what’s going on, instead of rushing through terminal commands. I can understand that it’s pretty uplifting to see your first website just hours after you’ve written your first command, but it’s probably equally disappointing when you try to do it again at home and you get lost in it completely. I’d prefer to be able to use other tools as well.
I like teaching and am still willing to volunteer to help out new programmers. Just in a more open environment.