Day Zero

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Click, click click, the roller-coaster starts its inexorable climb to the top. In a few minutes, it’ll be a literal climb as my flight to Chicago takes off.

For those who don’t know yet, I’ll be in Chicago for the next nine weeks teaching in the Girls Who Code (GWC) Summer Immersion Program (SIP). I’ll post more about this excellent  program as the summer goes on, but if you subscribe to the premise of instant gratification, here’s what it’s about: SIP.

First, I’m going to publicly commit to writing every day until I get back. This is the longest continuous writing challenge I’ve ever done. My previous writing record is about 30 days. Don’t expect Shakespeare here – expect more a melange of Shakespeare (I’ll probably make up words), Faulkner (I tend towards the run-ons), P.D. Eastman (short, easy sentences), and the worst copy editing you ever seen, and none of any of these more than two or three words in a row. Plus, I use a lot of parentheses, so it may look like fingernail clippings if you squint a bit.

It’s a curious thing, leaving home for so long. It’s almost like vacation in reverse. The other day, I found myself filling my travel pill organizer to use at home, and packing my medicine bottles. Normally, you’d think about putting your gardens to bed at the end of vacation, but I put mine to bed for the summer – I’m trying yellow wax beans as a cover crop.

I’m looking forward to the adventure, but also a bit nervous. Here’s a list of things on my mind:

Things I’m looking forward to Things I’m nervous about
Getting to know my students, TAs, and others in the program and forming relationships with them Getting to know my students, TAs, and others in the program and forming relationships with them
Teaching programming for the first time Teaching programming for the first time
Living in a big city (any city, really) Living in a big city (any city, really)
The freedom of so much time outside of the program to do what I want The freedom of so much time outside of the program to do what I want

I think you can see where this is going.

I’ve peeked at the calendar and seen that there are several neat events ahead: field trips, speakers, program events, all in addition to the coding the students will be doing. There is at least one speaker who I’ve googled (is that a lower case verb now?) and am very excited to hear speak. Cool stuff. A lot of it is intended to be surprises for the students, so I’ll tell you what’s what when I can.

I plan to explore this city during my down time, so sometimes I’ll write about what I find. Of all the people I’ve spoken with, no one has said ANYTHING negative about this city, so I am looking forward to it.

Later the same day: I made it so the Windy City (it was just breezy today) and am settling in.

Why Day Zero?

In the SIP program, tomorrow starts week zero – a week of preparation for the teaching teams. The students start on week 1. Since work starts for me tomorrow, that will be Day 1. Hence, today is Day Zero.

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