More than anything, I love to learn new things. This love drives me to teaching. I want to do whatever I can to help create that happiness for others. Pursuing a career in education seems the most promising path for me to help as many people as possible experience this happiness.
Another driving factor behind my desire to teach is that I want people to be better than I am. Hindsight is 20/20 and thus it’s easy to look back and pinpoint what I should have focused my past time on or what opportunities mattered more than others. I know I cannot change the past so I don’t dwell in reflection for self-loathing – I dwell in reflection so that I can one day pass on this knowledge. I’m not content with just having a new generation being just as good as its predecessor. I think each new generation should be better: more knowledgeable, more efficient, more open-minded, and more creative. Even so early on in my career, I feel that I have a wealth of wisdom on how to become the best engineer possible. Teaching is a great avenue to reach out to the next generation of computer science students and help them to become the best that they can be.
I do not approach teaching haphazardly. I strive to teach with purpose and finesse. To do so, I have adopted four principles to guide my teaching:
1. Be Active
The evidence supporting active teaching is too strong to ignore. Whether it is a discussion, hands-on examples, or some other kind of non-lecture activity, it is nearly always more effective to spend class time with an active learning technique than a traditional, “information dump” lecture. There are, of course, some instances where lectures are still effective and should be used accordingly, but I believe that active teaching techniques should be an item in any instructor’s repertoire of techniques.
2. Be Relevant
Students want to learn useful things. They want to know that they’re spending their time on something that will actually help them in the future. Traditionally, instructors have put a huge focus on theory and leave it up to the real-world to make the connections between theory and practice. I want to break this practice. I think that instructors should aim to make those connections in the classroom so that students can hit the ground running when they start working on real world problems.
3. Be Clear
Miscommunication is a problem in any discipline, but it is especially hazardous in a classroom environment. Miscommunication can affect what students interpret as important details regarding the material, causing them to miss main points. Or worse, they may interpret something incorrectly and learn incorrect information. Unlearning information requires deliberate and repetitive cognitive efforts on the learner, which can be difficult for anyone. Instructors should be conscious of this phenomenon in the classroom and strike a balance between relinquishing control for active learning and maintaining clarity in how students’ learn material.
4. Be Thorough
Teaching is a very time-consuming process. An instructor must spend time searching for the best way to present material, the best method to evaluate learning, and keep up with the latest status of the material they are teaching. By its nature, knowledge is always expanding and instructors must always keep up. On top of this, the act of teaching requires many hours of planning, evaluating techniques and student learning. I want to always maintain thoroughness and rigor when teaching because I know that my students’ success depends significantly on me.
- ITCS 3050: Topics in Computer Science - "Robot Navigation", Spring 2016
- ITCS 3146: Operating Systems and Networking, Fall 2013
- ITCS 2215 Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Spring 2014
- ITCS 6151/8151 Intelligent Robotics, Spring 2015
- ITCS 6150/8150 Intelligent Systems, Fall 2015
- President - CCI Grads, 2015-2016 Academic Year
- Vice Chair for Judging and Awards - UNC-Charlotte Graduate Research Symposium, 2015
- General Volunteer - UNC-Charlotte Graduate Research Symposium, 2015
- S.T.A.R.S. Outreach Program, 2010-2013
- CPCC Geekfest, 2010-2014
You can see my full Teaching Portfolio here.