Yesterday was the first day of the spring quarter, and I am lucky enough to be teaching the first- and second-quarter Python classes again. This is the first quarter that I’ve had a chance to teach the classes in a lab. I argued for this change because I believe having the students be able to do hands-on coding every single class session means they will learn more. These are future developers, and they need to know as much as possible about coding as soon as possible. I’ll rework my class to be as interactive and activity-driven as possible, and I firmly believe they will benefit.
But there is a consequence that I didn’t anticipate: I can’t see their faces as well. They sit behind big monitors, and except for the people in the first five rows or so I simply can’t see their faces. It was killing me yesterday. I’m used to gauging what’s going on by what I see in their expressions and their eyes, and I don’t have that feedback now. I know I’ll adjust and find other ways to figure out the impact of what I’m doing, but I didn’t realize how much I relied on their expressions until I couldn’t see them anymore.