Why do people become instructors?

People train as instructors for many reasons:

  • To make their own lives better. By teaching their fellow scientists how to build and share better software, our instructors are indirectly helping to create things that they themselves can use.
  • Because it's fun. How could it not be?
  • To build a reputation. Teaching a workshop is a great way for people to introduce themselves to places they'd eventually like to work, and a great way to make contact with potential collaborators.
  • Get practice teaching. We're doing more every year to train instructors, and giving them chances to teach online as well—both of which are useful for people with academic careers in mind.
  • Help get people of diverse backgrounds into the pipeline. Computer Science is 12-15% female, and that figure has been dropping since the 1980s. Some of our instructors are involved in part because they want computational science to include a broader range of people.
  • Teaching forces you to learn new things, or learn old things in more detail than you already know. See for example "Graduate Students' Teaching Experiences Improve Their Methodological Research Skills".
  • The more you know, the less you have to write yourself. Putting a grant application together? Have a site review coming up? We probably have slides for that... :-)
  • To make the world a better place. The two things we need to get through the next hundred years are more science and more courage. Software Carpentry can't do much about the latter, but we can help with the former.

Read more about instructor motivations in Beth Duckles's report, Value of Software Carpentry to Instructors.