Help 4 new coding teacher struggling w/ html


#1

I’ve gone through Unit 1 and part of Unit 2 lesson by lesson, and I’m starting to struggle. My students are on Unit 3 and although I can figure out answers to some of their questions, I am lost a lot of the time.

I have taught Computer Applications for years, but this is my first coding course. I wasn’t able to attend the training, but surely one week isn’t enough time to work through all the coding concepts for Units 2 & 3? I’ve already spent many hours on my own doing the lessons, and I have many more to go to complete the course to the end of Unit 3.

My concern is that even though I might be able to figure things out with another 100 hours of practice, I’m finding that coding is alien to my brain.

Is anyone else finding it more than challenging to understand and teach the course? This is the first time in 20+ years of teaching that I haven’t understood what I’ve taught, and it’s not a fun feeling. I’ve found myself relying on one of my students for help when I can’t figure something out.

Any thoughts on what I might do to become more competent at HTML? Is it just a matter of putting in the time?

Thank you very much.

Gary Ellis
Teacher
Creekside Middle School


#2

Gary,

Sorry you feel that way - in the week long training we discuss those feelings a lot as many people are teaching coding for the first time. The idea of the “lead learner” is very important especially in your first year. In this first year you’ll be trying to make sense of everything and sometimes days ahead of the students in terms of the content - that’s ok. Leverage the students that are enjoying it to go ahead and make tutorials, if possible have “working lunches” in which students can come in and everyone can figure out things together.

As for learning the skills taught - there are a bunch of tutorials out there, and they all approach it slightly different. I believe that once you do another, you’ll feel more comfortable with the basics and confidence will increase.

The two that I suggest are Khan Academy > Computer Programming > HTML and CSS and then General Assembly Dash. Both are very different approaches: Khan Academy offers no student choice, you must complete the assignment as written which is tough, but then there are sandbox lessons to play in - and General Assembly has a very modern project based feel that also guides students towards a certain goal (or looking website).

Hope that helps - and continue to use the forum as a resource - we are here to help!
Brad


#3

Thanks very much, Brad. Seems like it’ll be quite awhile before I get through those courses you mentioned. I sure wish that I’d taken coding courses in high school (there was only Fortran for the few school geniuses!), given that I’m “teaching” it now.

It’s the first time in 20+ years of teaching that I’ve not known what I was teaching! It’s a very weird feeling. I feel that my students deserve better.

Oh well. In time…

Thanks for your ideas. I’ll check them out.

Gary


#4

@misterellis If it’s any consolation to you, it took me a great deal of practice to really feel comfortable with HTML, but once I started to see the patterns, it all came into focus. Javascript on the other hand is a little harder for me to wrap my brain around. I’m getting there. The concept of lead learner goes a long way with students and giving yourself the license to say, “I’m not sure, but let’s figure it out together.” Best of luck and keep brining your struggles to the forum for help. It’s a great resource!