Here’s the story of several events that stimulated my interest in teaching kids.
Computer Graphics Terminal at The Crocker Bank
In the early 1980s, while living in San Francisco, I was one of the few programmers at The Crocker Bank to have an IBM color terminal, a 3279. One day, when one of my colleagues had his elementary school child and their class visiting our data center to see the cool mainframe computers in their large glass-walled rooms, he brought the group of kids by my desk and asked me if I could show the kids some graphics on the 3279. As I recall, I showed them some color bar graphs and pie charts—impressive displays at the time. The kids loved it, and I enjoyed teaching them a little about computers. This event helped spark my interest in teaching.
TRS-80 at a Friend’s School
I was friends with a family in Petaluma, CA, and I visited one of the boy’s elementary school classroom where they had an early 8-bit computer, perhaps a TRS-80. I helped them do a bit of programming on it. (This was at the time when magazines would publish long BASIC-language programs that we would type in, in order to play a game.)
Feather River Camp
Around 1987, through a family friend, I learned of the Oakland Feather River Camp near Quincy, CA, in the Plumas National Forest. They had a computer camp, and I got hired to teach there. We had the fun activities of an overnight camp, and we spent several hours each day in a computer lab in a college in nearby Quincy. The computers didn’t have graphics cards so we installed borrowed Hercules Graphics Cards, and then removed them at the end of the week.
Volunteering at the Local High School
In late 1987 I moved to Lafayette, CA, and I soon volunteered at Acalanes High School a little, in the programming classes.
DVC College for Kids
In 1992 I started a 23-summers-long job at Diablo Valley College’s College for Kids (blog post about the experience).
In 1994 I started teaching private students.