Dear CSC 243-401 students,

You’re in the middle of preparations for the final exam, which is still five days away, so I’m sure you’re not feeling like the end of the quarter is here yet.  But I’ve graded your last assignment and I’m busy writing your final exam, so for me the quarter feels like it’s almost over.  That means soon I’ll have to say goodbye to you, but before I do I have to tell you how much I appreciated you this quarter.  And, yes, I waited to post this until after the course evaluations closed.  I don’t want any of you to doubt the sincerity of this.

As you know, midway through the quarter I ended up with a third class, which meant teaching without a break from 10:10 am until 3 pm twice a week.  What you didn’t know is that I was grateful every single day that you were the ones to finish that line-up.  You were everything I love in a class.  The vast majority of you were on time every day, but those who did come in late almost always did so in a way to not disturb anyone else.  Your attendance rate actually improved after the midterm, which stunned me since it was so counter to my previous experiences.  A group of you were always early and your conversations were invariably entertaining, whether you were talking games or discrete math or any of the other topics that inspired the passionate discussions you had.  I was sad after I adopted the third class that I only had five rather than ten minutes to listen to you.

But the best part was how our class worked after we were all assembled.  You were a strong bunch of coders, but you brought none of the attitude that good coders in introductory courses sometimes have.  You listened very well, but you also asked excellent questions.  You had a preferred coding style and insisted that we follow it, which then gave me something about which I could tease you.  You appreciated my teasing, and you teased right back.  You were always respectful and genuine, and you made me laugh everyday without fail.  Even when the material we were covering wasn’t completely new to you, you believed you could still learn something from our class.  I think this is because you were deeply interested in learning, engaged even when I would go off topic to discuss events related to computing or Internet history.  Not all of you were fans of Python, but you most certainly were fans of programming and of computer science in general.  Whenever I would finish my second class, my mood would lighten because I knew I was about to go see students who love the subject as much as I do.

Your passion for the subject leads me to believe that you will be the students I will later read about revitalizing old student organizations or starting new ones, entering and winning programming contests, landing amazing jobs with companies that don’t exist yet, or creating some new innovation for an existing or yet-to-be-invented language/platform.  Whatever it is that you do in the future, know that you were a bright spot in those difficult five weeks in October and November 2013.  Thank you so much.

Amber, aka Dr./Professor Settle