The power of appreciation

Posted on August 13, 2014

One of the reasons I was attracted to teaching was the acknowledgement and appreciation I (might) get as a teacher. Being a woman in tech is hard. The ignoring and lack of acknowledgement adds up. I was burned out and angry. (Still am to some degree).

The statistic that 56% of women leave tech after 10 years kept running through my head — 2014 is my 11th year of working full-time as a professional developer. Was I ready to leave? Did I want to stay?

As they say in Non-Violent Communication, I had needs that were not being met. One of them was acknowledgement of the work I was putting in — not just coding, but team building and managing and administrative things. Maybe I was craving attention and praise. What’s wrong with that? Everything in moderation, darling.

I loved many of my teachers — they shaped who I am and my life in so many ways, I suspect I’ll still be discovering more ways on my death bed. Teachers are acknowledged and appreciated (sometimes). I wanted that.

Dev Bootcamp, where students are older, paying lots of money, and dropping everything in their life for a significant period time, would be a place that would err more on the appreciating teacher side than, say, my public high school.


Well, teaching my first cohort was an emotional roller coaster. The intensity of the program as well as my inexperience teaching and my inexperience with the curriculum were notable contributors to that topsy-turvy-ness.

But then there was Demo Day, when the students reveal their final projects to potential employers and the whole school. As my friend, Jen Myers said,

“This is really fucking cool.”

I recently received a card from my students, who are off interviewing and accepting jobs now.

(ps — You should hire them.)

And … I’ll just say that that need, I had? It’s been met. Times a thousand.

Fiddler Crabs 2014 FOREVA! ♥ ♥ ♥

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