Respect for the teacher or “Professor, where is your repository on GitHub?”

Original author: Eugene Wallingford
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The last few years of teaching have given me an idea of ​​what my students know and what they are willing to learn about programming. As a result, I slightly adjusted my curricula. The teacher must be flexible.

Some of my students are geeks. They already have quite a bit of programming experience, sometimes even in exotic languages ​​like Clojure. I hope that their time spent on my classes will be as useful as for less experienced students. Even advanced students usually do not yet know much about building complex software systems.

After an interesting conversation with one of these students, I thought about the role of trust between teacher and student. The student is forced to believe that his professor knows enough to teach him. Most students really believe in this, based on the authority of the university or the academic degree of a lecturer. This makes the teacher’s job a little easier, yes :). If the teacher is forced before each lesson, for each individual student to prove their qualifications and the right to teach the subject - things will go much slower.

As soon as the teaching of the course has been started, each interaction between the professor and the student either strengthens the initial trust or destroys it. This is one of the most important parts of the learning process and, unfortunately, this is not what many teachers focus on.

Working with advanced students is a challenge, especially if less experienced students are also present in the audience. Most of what is taught in the lessons as new information is the current (or even already passed) level of stronger students. Telling some basic thing, the teacher increases self-confidence among ordinary students, but at the same time, in the same words , he reduces his authority among experienced students .

Why should I listen to a professor who talks about the architecture of OOP applications if I’ve already written dozens of classes and thousands of lines of code? Can this person teach me something I don’t know? Is he professional enough?

This is a fair question. It is very important to gain the trust of a strong part of students. For me, when I was a student, this was not a problem. I studied well and knew a lot - but I believed the experience of my professor. It was easy for me, it seemed something natural. But not all students agree with this position.

Over the years of teaching, I have put a lot of effort into gaining this trust. Without him, I would not have had the chance to teach strong students something new, making them thereby even stronger.

Fortunately, today we live in a world that provides many interesting tools and opportunities. In addition to teaching, I can do my own projects and I really love it when students ask me: “Professor, what do you work on in your free time?” I look forward to the day when it becomes the norm among students to approach the teacher and ask, “Where is your repository on GitHub?”. The answer to this simple question will enable the teacher to earn the trust of the most demanding students. Of course, if his teacher is really worthy.

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