I tutor people who want to program, I don't ask anything for it, money wise, if they use my house as a learning space I may ask them to bring cookies or a pizza or something but on the whole I do it to help others learn who want to.

Now this in of itself is perfectly fine, I don't get financially screwed over or anything, but...

Fuck me if some students are horrendous!

To the best of my knowledge I've agreed to work with and help seven individuals, four female three male.

One male student never once began the study work and just repeatedly offered excuses and wanted to talk to me about how he'd screwed his life up. I mean that's unfortunate, but I'm not a people person, I don't really feel emotionally engaged with a relative stranger who quite openly admits they got addicted to porn and wasted two years furiously masturbating. Which is WAY more than I needed to know and made me more than a little uncomfortable. Ultimately lack of actually even starting the basic exercises I blocked him and stopped wasting my time.

The second dude I spoke to for exactly 48 hours before he wanted to smash my face in. Now, he was Indian (the geographical India not native American) and this is important, because he was a friend of a friend and I agreed to tutor however he was more interested in telling me how the Brits owed India reparations, which, being Scottish, I felt if anyone was owed reparations first, it's us, which he didn't take kindly too (something about the phrase "we've been fucked, longer and harder than you ever were and we don't demand reparations" didn't endear me any).

But again likewise, he wanted to talk about politics and proving he was a someone "I've been threatened in very real world ways, by some really bad people" didn't impress me, and I demonstrated my disinterest with "and I was set on fire once cos the college kids didn't like me".

He wouldn't practice, was constantly interested in bigging himself up, he was aggressive, confrontational and condescending, so I told him he was a dick, I wasn't interested in helping him and he can help himself. Last I heard he wasn't in the country anymore.

The third guy... Absolute waste of time... We were in the same computer science college class, I went to university and did more, he dossed around and a few years later went into design and found he wanted to program and got in touch. He completes the code schools courses and understandably doesn't quite know what to do next, so he asks a few questions and declares he wants to learn full stack web development. Quickly. I say it isn't easy especially if it's your first real project but if one is determined, it isn't impossible.

This guy was 30 and wanted to retire at 35 and so time was of the essence. I'm up for the challenge, and so because he only knows JavaScript (including prototypes, callbacks and events) I tell him about nodejs and explain that it's a little more tricky but it does mean he can learn all the basis without learning another language.

About six months of sporadic development where I send him exercises and quizzes to try, more often than not he'd answer with "I don't know" after me repeatedly saying "if you don't know, type the program out and study what it does then try to see why!".

The excuses became predicable, couldn't study, playing soccer, couldn't study watching bake off, couldn't study, couldn't study.

Eventually he buys a book on the mean stack and I agree to go through it chapter by chapter with him, and on one particular chapter where I'm trying to help him, he keeps interrupting with "so could I apply for this job?" "What about this job?" And it's getting frustrating cos I'm trying to hold my code and his in my head and come up with a real world analogy to explain a concept and he finally interrupts with "would your company take me on?"

I'm done.

"Do you want the honest unabridged truth?"

"Yes, I'd really like to know what I need to do!"

"You are learning JavaScript, and trying to also learn computer science techniques and terms all at the same time. Frankly, to the industry, you know nothing. A C developer with a PHD was interviewed and upon leaving the office was made a laughing stock of because he seemed to not know the difference between pass by value and pass by reference. You'd be laughed right out the building because as of right now, you know nothing. You don't. Now how you respond to this critique is your choice, you can either admit what I'm saying is true and put some fucking effort into studying cos I'm putting more effort into teaching than you are studying, or you can take what I'm saying as a full on attack, give up and think of me as the bad guy. Your choice, if you are ready to really study, you can text me in the morning for now I'm going to bed."

The next day I got a text "I was thinking about what you said and... I think I'm not going to bother with this full stack stuff it's just too hard, thought you should know."

  • 18
    These people didn't want to learn and you chose the right choice by giving up on them. How is it going with the other 4 though?
  • 17
    Wow A++rant! Wish I could give it ++100 devRant long story hall of fame!
    Write a book and I am first in line to buy it 😊
  • 24
    @WasserEsser The other four students are female and they study hard, ask questions, ask for exercises and are genuinely engaged and excited about learning, I have not a single complaint about them!
  • 17
    @Jumpshot44 The final student I mentioned tried incorporating a php snippet inside a ejs template and I told him it wouldn't work.

    He then said: "Come on, you don't know everything, you dunno, maybe I can teach you something, don't be so arrogant!"

    Me: "So you've install the php Zend engine, right?"

    Him: "The what?"

    Me: "This ain't gonna work, you don't know all the ways in which this isn't going to work..."

    Him: "Just watch me!"


    Him: "I don't get it why doesn't it work?!"

    I explaine the obvious about just copying php into a file without having a {l,w}amp stack and it went over his head...
  • 6
    I honestly am grateful that people like you exist although shit man, I'm thinking how you get all the time in the world for your free services.
  • 8
    @nateye I live alone, I'm 29 and my immediate family is about a hundred miles away.

    Work/gym routine as well as spare time coding, I guess I dunno either, I guess you just make time, which is why it's frustrating when others waste it.
  • 3
    @nmunro Have you considered finding a method to filter out the deadbeats? E.g. telling new apprentices that it's a trial period of length X and then things will accelerate to a level that only those who have made real progress will be able to cope with.
  • 2
    @Grumpy I hadn't, but maybe I should.
  • 3
    Sorry about these unmotivated pricks. People see money and think development can be done without the passion... oh how wrong they are. Also, I can barely find friends that speak code and if I personally had the opportunity of being mentored when I started I would've put my heart and soul into it like I am now.... hopefully there was a diamond in the rough somewhere in your teaching encounters!
  • 1
    @dalastTomCruise Yeah this guy was all about the money. He'd previously studied CSS and spent half an hour each day learning a tip or trick and slowly built up his knowledge but when I said:

    "It can take half an hour just to get into the mindset you were when you stopped yesterday, it's like a musical instrument, you have to practice every day and do the hard stuff, the hard stuff isn't fun but it is essential, you can't skip it."

    "Oh but I could learn a little CSS every day, I should be able to pick up programming in the same way."

  • 8
    @nmunro 29 live alone with four female students coming over every once in a while. I see what you did there. :)
  • 1
    @nmunro honestly in reality you can't "time" your sessions when programming because you don't really know the extent of the problem until you've either thoroughly planned it out, or when you're actually in the middle of it. It's a very sporadic and delicate thing; sometimes I code for 10 minutes and other times I code hours upon hours until the thing that I wanted functional actually becomes functional... but the ones thinking it's a piece of cake and full of money quickly learn the hard way that timed "30" minute sessions don't mean shit if you don't finish what you've started and actually gain insight. I spend 30 minutes debugging and refactoring alone... ugh.
  • 0
    Thought as I was responding.. The devRant scoring system needs a range! This deserves more than +1 from me. I'd give it 10.

    To the author - Bravo, sir.

    That was inspiring, honest, and one hell-ova rant!
  • 0
    I used to be like you but man, you are a martyr. I've had my fill of what you experienced. In my career, I always try my best to find either a passionate protege (it's motivating to see your mentee having an inquisitive character) or a more senior mentor whom I can learn from (and maybe share a thing or two he/she doesn't know yet from my experiences). There really is a difference when you see a person with the fire burning for programming.
  • 1
    @Torntech They don't, I know what I know and I know exactly where my knowledge limits begin. I know when I've given more than enough and I know it's not my fault they didn't persist. So I'm quite well adjusted with it all!
  • 2
    @Xanaxiel You're right the passion has to be there. I absolutely love coding by it took years to develop that love and there are some days I wish I was doing anything else but programming, but in the end I always remember how much I do enjoy it to keep me going when it isn't so easy.

    Someone that doesn't have the passion won't likely be able to push through the slog of when nothing works everyone is demanding progress, the building is on fire and the cat is giving birth to radioactive nazi penguin soldiers...

    And no... I don't know where that last bit came from either, but I'm sure those words have never been strung together in an English language sentence before...
  • 0
    @nmunro This makes me so mad, because those idiots make it seem as if men can't do shit. Fuck them. Want to learn to program? Fucking be ready to program 24/7!
  • 0
    @Letmecode ... you are indeed sexist, but it's true that men are lazier. So... hurray! We're both sexist towrds our own sex.... yaaaaay.
  • 0
    Watching Bake Off? I'd have told him to go fuck himself at that point. You sound like a nice geezer though.
  • 0
    @drRoss I don't consider myself as such... Frankly I don't much care if I'm considered nice or not, I simply am.
  • 1
    @nmunro I don't know how does your search process works, but finding passionate people, as Xanaxiel said, not only for programming but for learning in general may be a good idea. If you don't mind teaching over the Internet there are lots of forums/servers full of nice people that want to learn more.
    And, this might be the wrong rant to ask for advice but... Where do you go to find possible pupils, do you always offer help or do you wait for them to ask? I was wondering how does one find/get noticed by a experienced person and power their desire to teach.
  • 3
    @u205517 It's mostly been friends, acquaintances or friends of friends. I enjoy tutoring but I have a very tight schedule so I don't typically make time for just anyone and these days I've become more up front with my expectations from them as students.

    Cos, it has cost me a friend or two but whatever.

    I think there's a certain value in face-to-face tutoring and while you can learn online I prefer to fetch drinks or I'll bake a batch of cookies to help students feel welcome and at home so that they need only focus on learning.
Add Comment