I take teaching introductory programming seriously, and I do my absolute best to be inclusive and encouraging in the classroom. But it’s hard for me to judge the kind of job I’m doing, and like most people I tend to focus on the things I get wrong more than the things I get right. So getting feedback from former students means a lot to me. Yesterday I got the following (slightly edited to remove identifying information):

I was one of your Python students a couple years ago and I’ve been meaning to send a data point for how well I think you handle newcomers to the programming world. When I took your course I was a music major who had a reinforced lack of self-confidence in math and anything computer related, but you were the first educator I ever had that presented these topics with the subtext that anyone can pursue these topics with the right interest and intention to practice. Had I taken this course in more of a “programming gatekeeper” scenario, I think I would have shrugged and moved on from it all.

I didn’t technically leave DePaul with a CS degree (stuck with music), but I found a love for programming, ended up a C++ developer for <company in location>, and I would not have started on this path without the way you presented the realm of computing.

I might not get everything (or on some days most things) right, but I do sometimes and for some students make a difference. That’s good to know.

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