As it typical for the end of the third week of the quarter (when the second assignment is due), I’m struggling with a rash of cheating cases. Having as many as six Academic Integrity violations to file is killing the buzz I had from being back in person, but fortunately today in my first class I had an experience that reminded me how much better things are now that we’re back.

I gave the students a short exercise to do in class. The back row of students is particularly engaged, and they enjoy discussing things among themselves. At some point one of them got the program to work and exclaimed: “I fucking love it when it works!” The rest of the students, seeing me nearby, glanced at me and the student who said it, no doubt wondering how I would react to the swearing. I simply turned back to them and said that I agreed. I then walked to the front and told the whole class that you weren’t really programming if you weren’t swearing at least once.

The incident caused everyone to laugh, of course, but I think it was an important point to make: programming can be frustrating and swearing is a natural reaction to that. Acknowledging that is part of my job, and it was something that was much harder to do when I was teaching Zoom classes. Even with all the annoying moments, I’m grateful to be able to be inside a classroom again.