Meet Jawad: From gamer to passionate coding teacher
Published on 09/12/2021
Coding builds better futures
Meet Jawad: From gamer to passionate coding teacher
Driven by his love for coding, Jawad grew from a gamer to an avid tech learner and a passionate coding CodeBrave teacher. He currently teaches CodeBrave students in the Bekaa in-person, as well as teaching children all over the world remotely with our affiliated social enterprise, CodeBrave Tutors.
We met up with Jawad earlier this month to ask him some questions about his coding journey.
How did your love for coding start?
Before university, the only thing that I was doing with computers was playing video games and watching movies. I didn’t even know that I would eventually come to love coding computer programs.
When I applied for my undergrad, I didn’t care what I would major in, I just wanted to get a Bachelor’s degree. The admin department recommended that I enrol in Computer Science and Information Technology when I told them that I was good at Maths.
Later on, I discovered that it was exactly what I wanted to do and was very happy that I discovered this by pure luck!
Since I graduated with a MSc in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut, I have been working with children and teens at every opportunity I get.
I believe that the future depends on them, and my ultimate goal is to empower younger generations with a wide set of coding and digital skills.
What do you like most about coding?
I love coding because it is how I express myself.
Writing codes, programs, software, algorithms, and getting the workflow of the data that happens in the program is like writing the story of a virtual world, where you exist in real-time.
And when you’ve been working on it for a long time, you feel like it has become a part of you, and that’s really fun!
How did you start teaching coding for kids?
After graduating from university, I started tutoring at refugee camps in the Bekaa. Some students had zero knowledge about computers; they didn’t even know how to use a mouse or a keyboard, so I taught them the basics.
I remember vividly their happiness upon learning something new but I still can’t truly describe the feeling. I didn’t teach them how to code though, just how to use a computer. That motivated me to help children become more comfortable with using computers in general and start teaching them how to code.
No one had ever shown me how cool and interesting coding was, so I wanted to show that to children and youth.
I joined CodeBrave in February 2021 and instantly fell in love with the culture and the team. Before I started teaching students, I was trained on the CodeBrave tech curriculum, educational psychology techniques, and child safeguarding.
CodeBrave has allowed me to improve my tutoring techniques and gave me the proper tools to teach coding for kids online and offline, regardless of where they’re from!
What do you find most challenging about teaching?
The situation in Lebanon is making teaching kids in person more and more difficult, but we are not giving up. We will keep on finding new solutions to the problems we face. I also started teaching online this year and that comes with its own set of challenges.
For example, I don’t use WiFi anymore because it’s very slow and I can’t do video meetings for lessons. That is if we have electricity! That’s why CodeBrave bought me a new sim card as a backup in case my network is down. That way lessons are not interrupted.
The fuel crisis is another challenge whenever I have to go to school and teach classes in person. I don’t have a car because the family one has recently been sold. My friend drives me sometimes to my coding lessons but he’s not always available so I have to walk while carrying my heavy laptop. But that’s ok because I always try to look at the bright side of life.
Tell us about students who have impressed you recently
I taught Youssef and Amer, two very gifted and bright teenagers, the basics of Python during the CodeBrave Scholarship pilot programme. They just breezed right through it! So I had to come up with more advanced topics, even summarizing exercises that I learned at university. I remember struggling with a certain exercise when I was a student, but Youssef and Amer found it very easy. They have huge potential and their skills in tech and coding are just incredible. I’m sure that they will be able to land a job in tech later on.
I was proud to learn that CodeBrave arranged a paid apprenticeship for Youssef and Amer with a company based in the US to build the company’s new website. And apparently, they’re doing an amazing job!
What are your last thoughts?
Thanks to CodeBrave, I started teaching coding to kids and showing them how awesome writing programs could be.
I didn’t want what happened to me to happen to someone else, especially that they might not be as lucky as me to stumble upon coding.
“The impact of learning coding for kids is quite something! You trigger something in their brains, the neuron that is responsible for problem-solving and critical thinking. Teaching coding for kids online or offline, can give children a mental push to solve complex problems in code or in their lives. At CodeBrave, we’re also giving them soft skills – we teach communication skills and problem-solving. Our students are gaining diverse skills and that affects their character, drive, and potentially, their future. It’s really humbling and magical to witness that trigger happen and be part of it. And who knows, maybe there’s another Jawad out there who might come to love coding and want to do it for a living, but they just don’t know it yet. ”
CodeBrave is only as good as its teachers. We know that good teachers are essential to enable our students to achieve their full potential.
We are currently raising funds to enable Lebanon’s next generation by providing them with the tech skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.
For example, a contribution of £200 could pay for a teacher’s salary for a month. Donate here.