Being a lead teacher is an impactful way to be involved with our students.

Projected Time

This training will take roughly 90 minutes to complete.


By the end of this training you should be able to
  • List the responsibilities of a Lead Teacher in a lesson
  • Use three techniques to engage students during class
  • Identify what bad teaching looks like
  • Use the syllabus to assist you in teaching your students
  • Be able to teach effectively online


This training will be useful to you if
  • You are taking part in teaching at CodeYourFuture for the first time
  • You want to make the most impact during your teaching time here
  • You want to learn about the common pitfalls of new teachers.

Prior Knowledge

To take part in this training you are expected to
  • To have a good level of technical programming knowledge
You may also have
  • Taught with CodeYourFuture in the past
We do not expect you
  • To have any professional teaching or pedagogical experience



Introduction (5 minutes)

Throughout this lesson I'll be giving you an overview of what we expect from our Teachers at CodeYourFuture, how we expect lessons to run and some practical tips on how to be a better teacher.

Our Pedagogical Approach (5 minutes)

Communitised Learning

We aim for all of our lessons to be community events. This means that we try to actively reject the Lecture style teaching approach (i.e. one person talking for four hours) and move to a structure where
  • No one person dominates the lesson
  • We use lots of people to provide individual support
  • We promote group based activities

Lesson Structure

Our lessons are broadly structured so that there is a small amount of teaching followed by a short exercise to put into practice what they've just seen.
The taught content can (and should) take the form of a variety of techniques including
  • Short lectures
  • Taught examples
  • Live coding
Broader details about running a class can be found here.

Lesson Aims

The aims of our lessons are too
  • Introduce new concepts with sound pedagogy and planning
  • Create a space to explore questions from coursework
  • Provide community and support for the students (and for you!)
Most of the learning in our course does not happen in the classroom. It happens during the 10-20 hours of coursework that the students have each week.

Your Role in the Classroom (5 minutes)

A full description of a Lead Teacher's role is on the main docs site with the other roles.

Preparing For A Class (20 minutes)

The Syllabus is our central resource for what we teach at CodeYourFuture; that doesn't mean it's the end of what you should teach.
Everything we do is welcome to be remixed and changed as you see fit. However:
  • Developing content takes roughly 4-5x the time it takes to deliver it
    • All of our content should be well planned, have instructor notes and have supporting coursework
    • Content should have well thought out exercises with solutions provided
    • It should be structured into the curriculum and targeted at the right level.
That means that for the majoring of the time you will be using material
  • Making slides/notes is the best way to prepare
    • Make sure you understand the exercises
    • Add your resources/notes to the Syllabus when you're done by opening a PR.
In the end the Syllabus is a tool, not a set of instructions
  • Use it to help you teach better.
  • Don't be afraid to remix, change or edit it.
  • You know your trainees better than any of us; don't push forward just because the syllabus says so.
  • Don't be afraid to add more time to the lesson or module.
  • Your goal is to deliver the Learning Objectives and get your trainees to the next module equipped with the skills they need to progress.

What is Bad Teaching? (15 minutes)

We've all experienced bad teachers in our lives - let's talk about them

Discussion (5 Minutes)

What is an experience you've had with a bad teacher? What was it that made that made from your point of view as a student?
List out the ways that you've experienced bad teaching

Exercise (10 minutes)

Spend a few minutes watching this video of purposefully bad teaching.
While you're watching - I'd like you to take notes of anything you notice that could be considering bad teaching.
If you need more time, watch the video again to catch everything!
  • No proper start to the lesson to welcome students
    • The lesson starts with no pre-amble or recap of the previous content
  • Lesson starts with a semi-aggressive tone
    • This could make quieter students to feel afraid or timid
  • Stuttering, saying "um", "er"
    • Could be interpreted as lacking in experience in what he is teaching
  • Using imprecise words when describing
    • Using multiple works to describe the same content can be confusing for students
  • Using terms that seem more advanced than the content he is teaching
    • Using words or phrases that our beyond a
  • Calls a task "very simple" and says "as you'd expect". Using the word "of course"
    • If a student does not understand the content, it can make them feel stupid
  • Checks his phone part way though
    • Shows that the class is not his number on priority
    • This also break the tempo of the class
  • Writes code but not talking through exactly what he is typing
    • This might be fine for more advanced students but this will leave weaker students behind
  • Code is very small on the screen
    • Students at the back of the class will be unable to see what he is typing
  • Does nothing to engage his class - he is talking at them
    • In short bursts this is okay, but given longer lectures people will naturally tune out
  • Does not check for understanding with the students
    • Without checking if the students are understand there is not way to tell if his teaching is working
  • Makes a mistake but tells the students to not worry about it
    • A mistake in a lesson can be an important learning moment

Better Teaching (15 minutes)

1) Dissolve the Screen

To Dissolve the Screen is to heighten students’ awareness of the back-and-forth exchange that still exists between us so they feel it more . For example:
  • “I see the work you’re sending me, and it matters”
  • “I’m still here, we’re still connected”
What does the teacher do to "Dissolve the Screen"?
Start the video at 1:07

2) Leap of Faith

  • Teaching remotely can feel very strange
    • (Why might teaching remotely feel more strange?)
  • Take the Leap of Faith
    • Teaching is theatre
    • Act as if you had an audience
  • You are always fighting against disengagement
    • This is doubly true for online teaching

3) Cold Calling

  • Cold Calling feels weird and uncomfortable - even invasive
    • However, students appreciate it
    • They often respond with how engaged they felt in the lesson even if they don't know this is the reason
  • Don't be discouraged by a bad or incorrect answer, use it as a learning moment

4) Everyone Responds

  • What asking if - for example - everyone understands the task for the exercise ask them to make a physical movement to say if they do
    • E.g. a head nod, a thumbs up
    • It's important that you wait for all of the students to respond. What they do matters.

5) Popcorning

Exercise (5 minutes)
Which of these are you MOST likely to try?
Which of these are you MOST nervous about trying?

More Ideas?

The Teaching Checklist can be found here


In the rest of this website you'll find videos of previous teach training sessions - you're encouraged to watch the ones that interest you.

Class Engagement (40 Minutes)

Watch the Are They All Engaged? lesson

Student Understanding (40 Minutes)

What Are They All Thinking (40 Minutes)