I think to think I’m a good teacher, helping my students to learn programming, algorithms, and all of the other things I teach in computing. But I stand by the assertion that it is always the case that I learn more from them than they learn from me. Today I was particularly reminded how my students prepared me to be a better parent.
During this academic year I have scheduled my office hours after my last class of the day. That has seemed to work reasonably well, with so many students coming to see me that my colleagues teased that I needed a ticketing system. This quarter almost no one has come to my office hours. My class schedule has shifted 1 1/2 hours earlier, so that my first class starts at 10:10 am. I also teach in a lab. I’ve noticed that when I show up to class about 10 minutes early, there are often at least a half a dozen students already working in the lab. Today I answered a bunch of questions before class. So it occurred to me to ask them if they would prefer that I try to come to class early to answer questions, and they enthusiastically said yes. I was surprised by that, given that means they are suggesting that we meet in the lab before 10 am. These are undergrads, after all, who are known for sleeping past noon, not showing up for a morning lab session. But I’ll answer questions when they have them, and if that means showing up at 9:45 am so be it.
This ability to make changes on the fly was something that used to make me uncomfortable. But the more I teach, the more I improvise and the more flexible and adaptable I become. I just wish that all my former and current students could know how much benefit they have provided to my daughter.