I just got back from my first tutoring session with a new client.

I’ve started tutoring to make a bit of money to supplement my web development projects, and I completely forgot what a huge jump in mindset it is to go from programming as a day job to teaching someone who has never read the phrase “Hello World” before.

As I was sitting there running my student through classes and subroutines and assignment statements, I kept overlooking some of the most fundamental things. Things like explaining what the equals operator means. Things like explaining what the full stop character means.

To me, these ideas have low Quality, as Robert M. Pirsig would put it. These operators are so small and simple that they’ve entered my subconscious and muscle memory and I don’t really notice them any more.

But to someone who is an absolute beginner, the Quality is through the roof. These simple characters somehow unite two pieces of code together, perform some mysterious operation.

The trick I have to learn now is to see this code as a real beginner. Break it down and stare hard at each piece, to make it visible to me again. And that’s how I hope to become a quality tutor.