Adam Silver and I chat about how entrepreneurs and website builders can use Learn.WordPress.org when hiring freelancers.
I’ve been a long-time listener of Kitchen Sink WP and always enjoy chatting with Adam. Take a listen.
Why teach WordPress?
- Remember what you learned
- Spare others from the same frustrations
- Give back (my friend Andrea has profound insights on this)
- Help you synthesize the information you’ve discovered
- Continue learning by repetition and experiencing others learn
By participating in any one of these reasons, we help WordPress, open-source, and the internet a better place.
Do I need a degree to teach?
Nope, there is no degree required to teach WordPress. You need some experience, but there are many ways to get that. It’s especially helpful to have experience in the specific lesson, but no degree is required.
That said, I think about my days in college. I do have a degree in this stuff. I had some professors specific to computer programming, astronomy, philosophy, and more. These years were a great time to explore many new-to-me concepts. However, I could tell which professors had training in teaching.
There is a real value to anyone with experience helping another. We can all learn from each other. There is also great value in those who think about Bloom’s Taxonomy, learning styles, learning objectives, curriculum planning, and more.
Those degrees are really useful, but not at all required to share the knowledge and experience uniquely yours.
Want to see what others without an educational degree are sharing? Check out WordPress.tv. You can find recordings from so many WordPress events here.
How can you share what you know?
- Blog, podcast, vlog about it
- Speak at events
- Help someone 1-1
- Offer a class
- Write a lesson plan
- Create a workshop
Want to get on every teacher’s nerves?
Just say or agree with this statement:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach
Why is this statement so bothersome? It implies that teaching is somehow less than doing the work.
I question if those who say such things have ever led a group of people through something new to them. In teaching, we see many new perspectives, challenges participants face with the material, and possibly even new insights about the lesson in the process.
When we teach, we speak from our experience. In technical topics, such as web development, we need to anticipate the troubles participants will encounter and be prepared to help them.
When what we teach is open-source-related, we are actively giving back to the project by empowering others.
Why do I teach WordPress?
In my post-college years, I worked on some deeper self-discovery work. I realized the thing I most wanted to do with my life.
My personal life’s mission is to lift the quality of life for others through technology.
At the time, I was a high school business education teacher with a passion to lift the standard of living in remote parts of the globe. I was listening to The World is Flat. My mind was shifting to how globally distributed work was possible.
I found open-source software. I needed a learning management system and started a Moodle server for my class and a blog in Joomla. Soon after, I found WordPress and haven’t looked back since.
My life journeys have meandered here and there along the way, but the mission has never swayed.
With WordPress powering 42% of the internet and my love for empowering others to reach their dreams, I am excited to continue teaching WordPress.
What about you?
Do you share the skills you’ve learned? How do you help others learn WordPress? Leave some comments below
You may have heard others say WordPress is easy, or using a no-code approach to building websites is easy. Some would even say it is easy to develop code for WordPress. But me? No, I wouldn’t present WordPress as easy.
What we do know is that what feels easy for someone isn’t necessarily easy for others. What comes readily for you doesn’t for me.
To frame something as easy sets an expectation for another. If they believe things should be easy but find themselves confused, stuck, frustrated, or missing steps, it can block their learning journey.
Easy and Just are related to how we set the context for the experience. Progressively, I’ve heard people limiting the term just from their vocabulary. Like – oh, just do this and this. This is a great start.
I’ve heard so many ideas and misconceptions over the years I’ve spent teaching related to the learning journey.
“I was told by someone that WordPress is easy to learn, and I told them the difference between a WordPress “user” and a WordPress “developer”. So maybe the programs think their grads can learn it on their own, which is hard to do. It’s tough.Mercy Baffour (former bootcamp student)
We don’t just launch a website. We have a discovery session with clients, we gather content, we create code. We don’t just develop websites, we help our clients achieve their goals
Similarly, doing any of this is not easy. There is no easy button here.
If we use a low or no-code tool to do so, the first few encounters are not easy. If we build complex sites with these tools, it isn’t any less of a service for the end website visitor. If we’ve been writing code in the terminal since 1999, everything else we do isn’t easy either.
There is an art to design. Code is poetry.
We’ve gone from scented markers to oil paint and from Goodnight Gorilla (where 50% of the words are “Goodnight”) to Shakespeare.
Is this good or bad? Neither. As we mature, our understanding becomes more complex. Our vocabulary as a baby compared to an adult, or even my super chatty kindergartner is vastly different.
Stages of Awareness
There’s an idea in education around our awareness:
Unknown Known Unknown Unaware or no understanding Understand but unaware Known Aware but don’t understand Aware and understand
A baby doesn’t understand how to walk. As an adult, we are aware of the muscles needed, understand the concept, and even do this without much thought. Some of us can even multitask while we walk.
As we reach awareness and understanding, it may feel easy because we’ve practiced doing this so much that it has become second nature for us. We may forget what it was like to start learning. At this point, we can overlook empathizing with those that are learning or are out of practice.
The term beginner’s mind comes from the concept Shoshin:
Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject.James Clear
Think of the first time you learned something that wasn’t easy. Can you identify where you felt blocked? What did you do to overcome this?
With a beginner’s mind, we approach things we don’t yet know with an eagerness to learn. We ask questions.
My kindergartener asks sooooo many questions right now about everything. He is excited to absorb everything he can and do new things each day.
Keep that same mindset, but remember the feeling of just getting started.
Have you ever build a site for a client, turned it over for them, and watched them change every color, font, layout and more? No – just me?
We train our clients in how to reach their best. We see just giving access to a WordPress website isn’t enough. Sometimes we put training wheels on what they can do by defining what colors in the palette they can choose.
It may not be hard, but claiming using WordPress is easy is to deny the very real frustration some people may have.
Developing for WordPress
The chatter in the past week really revolves around the ongoing training of experienced developers. We innovate on features, methods, and also aim to keep WordPress backwards compatible. Adding all that together is additional layers of complexity and quantity of skills needed.
Should we go back to where we felt like things just made sense or that the process felt easy to us? Unlikely.
Is using the terminal hard for me? No. I began using it with MS-DOS as a 5th grade student in the early 1990s. I have decades of experience now.
Do I find it challenging to configure Composer versions into the right directory? At times, yes.
Does knowing these earlier methods help me now? Absolutely.
Should those be my current tools and experiences? Absolutely not.
Should we make current methods less complex? It depends.
It isn’t easy to keep up, it isn’t easy to know so many methods. But our goal is still for the recipient of our skills. We may do more complex things so that the users experience is better for it.
It is incredibly rewarding to keep learning. It is gratifying to help others learn.
So please, do all you can to make it easier for others to learn. I wouldn’t say it is easy, but it will be worth it.