I did it! I certified as instructor trainer for the Carpentries!

Design by The Carpentries.
This is the personal certificate issued to Annika Rockenberger. All rights reserved.

During the first quarter of 2020, I was one of roughly a dozen successful applicants that got a spot on the Trainer Training that the Carpentries holds once per year and for 8 weeks my group and I worked through a packed syllabus. In addition to weekly discussions and learning how to get good at using Zoom as a teaching platform (before anyone else had to become a pro, too, thanks to COVID-19) as well as taking on different roles in an online discussion setting, we got to be observers of teaching demos and an online instructor training.

Even though the workload was heavy (I was taking the Creative Commons Certificate at the same time thanks to very ambitious scheduling…), being part of the Carpentries community is such a joy! There’s such an incredible niceness and kindness in this community: It really feels like home.

As a certified trainer I will host four teaching demos per year. Teaching demos are a mandatory part of the instructor training checkout process, which all of our aspiring Carpentries instructors have to do after their two-day training. It’s about showing that you can handle the lesson material, have gotten the core idea about how we teach in the Carpentries, and a really valuable opportunity to get feedback on your teaching and participatory live-coding.

I addition to hosting teaching demos, I have pledged to co-teach at least two online instructor training events per year. The Carpentries do the majority of their instructor training (i.e. where you learn how to teach Carpentry-style and get to know the community and the spirit of the Carpentries) online. There are always a fair number of open training events to which you can apply, but there are also quite a few training events that are held for applicants from member institutions. In addition to these online training events, some member institutions will host on-site training, too. I did mine at the EMBL in Heidelberg.

Lastly, I will also host two or more discussion sessions during the year. Discussions are a vital community part of the Carpentries: they are the place for instructors to talk about upcoming workshops they’re going to teach or do a short recap of past teaching experiences. Discussions can also be on specific topics – or put a region or local community in the focus. Participating in a discussion session is a mandatory part of the instructor checkout, too, but apart from the formalities, it is really where the global community of the Carpentries meets!

The thing is that all these events are online-events, and they are time-zone based. Which means that you get the chance to meet people you would otherwise probably never have met. Oslo being in UTC+1 means that you will likely be meeting people from all over the African continent. With many other academic events being incredibly Europe and Northern America centered, this is such a refreshing change. It not only means having the chance of discussing workshops or learning with each other, but it also means that we can teach each other – and together with each other!

In the spirit of Greg Wilson, founder of Software Carpentry and the Carpentries spiritus rector:

Be kind! All else is details.

Greg Wilson: Teaching Tech Together. https://teachtogether.tech/#the-rules

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