At the beginning of the spring quarter, one of my former Python students contacted me. He was having a tough quarter, with classes that weren’t engaging him and instructors who were frustrating him, and he wanted to work on something that he would enjoy. He originally asked about a programming project, but when I found out that he was taking a statistics class I asked if he would be interested in analyzing some data for me. He’s a good sport, so he agreed.
He spent the entire quarter learning more about statistics than he was required to do in his class so that he could make sense of the data I had gathered for a project. He did this while taking a full load of classes and finding an internship, the latter of which required interviews and technical preparation. And he did an amazing job. The presentation of the analysis to our co-authors was this week, and he impressed everyone so much they were looking for ways to involve him in extracurricular events for DePaul.
The experience made me realize how happy I am to be teaching freshman again. As one of their first college instructors you have a chance to engage them in a way that can’t be duplicated later in their career, and the pride that you feel as they mature and start to do amazing things is one of my favorite things about my job.