Teaching Is Learning

Hello everyone,

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed teaching. It’s gratifying to relay information that helps others. Also, for anyone who’s taught before, they can tell you that it’s challenging. To teach properly is to know what you’re trying to teach with a great deal of certainty, lest you risk public embarrassment and passing out false information. So, at least for me, it takes a great deal of confidence in what I’m trying to teach before I teach it.

So far, I haven’t been confident enough in my current abilities in development to do a talk at a user group or conference. Not that I don’t know anything, but that I didn’t believe I knew anything that would be of great value to someone else. I feel that a talk should have content that is compelling and gives the listeners something that could help them greatly. I feel what I know would be better shared in this blog, as they’re usually little snippets of information that wouldn’t fill up an hour block for a session. However, thanks to the different perspective of good friends and colleagues, I now know I have something of value.

Seriously though, thanks!

Seriously though, thanks!

I hopped on Twitter recently, and noticed Seth Petry-Johnson, Matt Groves, and Calvin Allen of Heuristic Solutions and Craig Stuntz and Rodney Smith of Improving Enterprises wanted to get together at the Improving Ohio office to review CodeMash abstracts. Being curious, I was going to show up just to be helpful in reviewing theirs. It was pointed out that CodeMash does have Lightning Talks, which I didn’t know, because I haven’t attended yet. Although this type of talk would be more up my alley, I still didn’t know what to talk about.

For awhile, many in the community have suggested that I talk about more DevOps-type topics. This would make sense, due to my system administration and tech support background and more-recent familiarity with development. However, I’m more interested in a pure development role, and don’t wish to make it seem as if I’m interested in continuing down the ‘ops’ part of that role. So, I went to this abstract review in hopes that I would get some feedback on what else I can provide to the community.

...but not this kind of feedback!

…but not this kind of feedback!

They suggested I use my perspective that I’ve gathered from my previous blue-collar and system administration/tech support positions to assist in an area that developers may not be aware of. It was also suggested that it be something that I’m passionate about. This is so I will be fully engaged and have a good amount of material to talk about, as it will be a priority to me. Immediately, I think of the social struggles that many developers have, and some do not realize the implications of these issues, or that these issues even exist. I’ve witnessed these issues in others, and have struggled and overcome many of them myself, so I felt this was a good fit for a talk.

I wrote up the idea in a gist and received a ton of great feedback. Although this was to be a lightning talk, I got a lot of ideas from Justin Foley, who showed up randomly at the review. These ideas, coupled with having to wait a couple more weeks to submit my Lightning Talk, I decided to submit it as a full session. Whether it will be selected or not is yet to be determined. Even so, it will give me a great motivation to continue learning on the subject.

I’ll update via the comments section and all the social sites whether my talk is selected or not, for those who are interested.

Thanks for reading!