Last term, I decided to take a CPSC course (CPSC 211) as an elective, just to get access to 3rd year CPSC courses. I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot from the course – after all, it’s just a lowly second year CPSC course about general software development stuff, and I have been doing hardcore programming for years.
Turned out, I did learn quite a bit. Not CPSC technical knowledge per se, but how to teach.
I had the honour of getting taught by, what I think is, the best professor I’ve had so far. Dr. Kimberly Voll. I highly recommend taking her course if you have a chance. I don’t have to worry about sucking-up accusations here (not that I usually worry about them anyways), because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know/read my blog :).
I find it strange that when they hire profs, a lot of emphasis is put on their knowledge. I don’t think it’s nearly as important as the ability to teach. Pretty sure any CPSC graduate would know enough to teach a second year course, but I doubt many people can teach it so well.
The classes were very engaging. She explained the topics well with plenty of simple examples, and was super approachable. Outside of class time, she also interacts with students a lot, and doesn’t try to maintain the “barrier” between profs and students. Many profs try to distance themselves from students, as if not doing that would lose respect students have for them…
She should get a medal or two. Or a dozen.
After taking her class, I have been thinking about teaching as a potential career a lot.
I have always loved to teach, though I’m not good at it by any stretch of imagination.
The only thing that I didn’t like about it before is how boring I thought it would be. Now I’ve seen how interesting it can be.
If I work hard, as in, stop slacking off, I have no doubt I will be able to make it.
My goal in life has always been to do cool stuff (just like how some people want to save people, some want to improve lives, some want to make $$, etc). If I go into the industry, I’m sure I’ll be able to do some cool stuff, but if I become a teacher, through extension of students, I’ll potentially be doing much more cool stuff.
Maybe, with some luck, one day, in 20 or 30 years, I’ll become a teacher as good as she is, and be able to inspire and motivate students as well as she did to me.