This week’s episode of Turing Incomplete is about pairing, and while my poor audio connection is mostly to blame for my quietness on this episode (when it’s out), I also brought up the issue I run into with pairing, but I find difficult to talk about with people who pair 100% of the time and wanted to expand on it here in the blog.
In the show, I bring up the story from when I was in elementary school – I was a fast reader, and I got extremely frustrated, to the point of rudeness, when other students couldn’t read. We had group reading, you see, where four of us would sit at a table and take turns reading a chapter (monotone readers were another peeve, but that doesn’t analogize well).
My memory isn’t fantastic, but for whatever reason I recall this turn of events well. The solution (which I remember thinking “clever one, teacher”) was to put me into a group with my childhood best friend, who, because I liked her, I would not (in so many words) call dumb for failing to understand a word.
I brought this story up because it’s how I sometimes (often?) feel while pairing. Just like you want to kick someone in the shins when you watch them type a URL starting with “http://” rather than you know, writing the URL, or flail painfully when you watch someone index-finger type (is this just me??), there have been very few people that I’ve paired with that I don’t a) get frustrated with, b) cause me go into teacher mode.
Mode b is what I naturally do now when pairing, because hopefully I’ve become a better person to work with over time, and because it’s better for my own work health than option a. When I pair and I’m seeing someone just not at my speed, I go into the way I teach at GirlDevelopIt or other classes, and I’ve gotten better at teaching over time (because the more you do something … spoilers). I’m told it goes well, but I worry that it could come off as patronizing, especially when it’s someone supposedly at or above my own level.
Which leads to the point “don’t worry about what’s in it for you, it all leads to goodness” which right, sure, whatever, except that I effing love shipping. I also effing love reading, hence our winding road down memory lane earlier. If someone’s hurting more than helping the process, I … have issues.
I suppose the point of this post is that I’d love to pair more, and well, the only way to get better at something is to do more of it. However, I worry (from what I know about my 3rd grade self) that I’d be a total meanface to someone when they don’t get something, and I definitely don’t want to do that, which makes me go into mode b, which means I’m in teaching not learning mode … and the cycle goes on. I don’t have a solution other than maybe wanting to institute “Pairing Tuesday” or something of the like, to get myself and others to pair more regularly.