CYF Docs
Lead Trainer


The trainer's role is the role of the director. You are tasked with taking control of the flow of the class and making sure it proceeds in a way that is beneficial not only to trainees but to volunteers as well. In the classroom, people will look to you as a figure of authority and leadership. As a lead trainer, you are ultimately responsible for what is taught in the class, the pace and the involvement of our other volunteers. It is an important and impactful role where you can have a huge impact on our trainee’s education.
Your primary role as a Lead Trainer is to coordinate and control the classroom. It is your job to guide the trainees and training assistants through the lesson plan and understand when people need more time or more guidance. Use your training assistants to help guide you in these efforts.
Before each lesson, you should organise with your other trainers what and how you are planning on delivering the content. It is so important that you - and the rest of the people you’re leading with - thoroughly understand the content being taught and are prepared to deliver it to the class. Before each lesson you should understand the schedule for the day, when each exercise will be taught and how they will be delivered.
Training should always take the smallest amount of your time as you should move to examples as soon as you feel the trainees are ready. Where possible you should practice Active Teaching which means that you are responsive to the trainees' questions and misunderstandings.

Jobs in Class

  • Introduce yourself and the classroom volunteers
  • Introduce the learning objectives for the day
  • Be aware of which trainees are struggling
  • Solicit answers from all trainees
  • Thank trainees for asking questions
  • Give a recap of the learning objectives
  • Thank the volunteers
  • Attend the retro to feedback on trainees


You can find the training for this role here.

Classroom Rules

  1. 1.
    Be kind: all else is details.
  2. 2.
    Remember that you are not your learners…
  3. 3.
    …that most people would rather fail than change…
  4. 4.
    …and that ninety percent of magic consists of knowing one extra thing.
  5. 5.
    Never teach alone.
  6. 6.
    Never hesitate to sacrifice truth for clarity.
  7. 7.
    Make every mistake a lesson.
  8. 8.
    Remember that no lesson survives first contact with learners…
  9. 9.
    …that every lesson is too short for the teacher and too long for the learner…
  10. 10.
    …and that nobody will be more excited about the lesson than you are.

Suggested Training Techniques

Live Coding

As a class you should work through a programming problem together. Ideally you should be the ‘hands’ and the students should be the ‘brain’. They should direct every keystroke of the solution. This is a great way of de-mystifying the coding process and slowly taking students through a concept or problem. The speed of your typing will limit the speed that you can deliver content and so is an ideal tool for pacing the lesson.

Worked Example

Bring a programming problem that you thoroughly understand and have prepared for. Your job as a trainer is to slowly reveal sections of the solution as trainees understand the different parts of it. It is important to move slowly and not reveal too much.

Performed Metaphor

Break the fourth wall by performing an interactive metaphor involving the students. Asking trainees to hold objects, move around the room or interact with other students can be a fantastic way of making hard to grasp concepts stick and provide valuable callbacks for later in the lesson.


Two Hands Means Silence
At the start of the class, tell the trainees that if they see you with both hands in the air they should copy you and stop speaking. This is an easy way of getting control of the class without shouting.
Teach One Concept at a Time
Be aware of the amount of topics that a trainee is learning at any one time. Where possible, try to teach only one skill at a time. It is okay, where appropriate, to explain that you will cover a trainee question in the future if it will distract too much from what you are immediately teaching.
Cold Calling
When asking a question to assess understanding you should not only elicit answers from trainees who offer them. Instead, ask a question, give the students time to process the answer and then choose a trainee to give an answer. This keeps the class engaged as they may be chosen to speak at any moment.
More Teacher Training