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Stepping into the Role of a Student

It has been some time since I have been a student. Since my college graduation in Spring 2012, I have been teaching high school science and, despite being around students 10 months out of the year, I have (apparently) forgotten what it is like to be one. In a word, the experience has been very humbling.

I came into the Code Immersion program with some rudimentary knowledge; as a college freshman (8 years ago), I learned how to navigate through terminal, use UNIX, and create an elementary HTML website (sans CSS). Barring dating a system admin for a few years, I never once had any other exposure to computer science until this past winter when I led Hour of Code with my students. I thought to myself, This is great! They love it! I want to learn more to teach them more!

... But Code.org is designed for children, and this Code Immersion program is not. This course is challenging, rigorous, and pushes me to become an independent learner. Every step of the way, I have to make sure that I am focused and attentive, otherwise I risk missing a crucial component to our lesson. I schedule time every day to sit down and do my homework, and I realize the delicate balance I need to have in order to be a successful student and attend to my other responsibilities. Talking to my fellow classmates is a necessity, and putting my pride aside to ask questions when I don't understand has been difficult, but rewarding. This has been a total shift in thinking for me, which I am thankful for. I have a newfound appreciation for my students and the process of learning.

Looking back at the first half of this course, I realize that I have learned so much. I know about HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Ruby, Git Hub, and Rails. I am able to make a website that can keep track of music AND make it look beautiful. I can articulate how the front-end communicates with the back end. I have even learned to love and embrace error messages.

And, perhaps most importantly, I have learned how to be a student again: hardworking, curious, and hungry for more. I can't wait to see what the second half of this course has in store for me.

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