I love education, but I have never really warmed to traditional ways of teaching. I am just not very good at it. Honestly, I find traditional lectures quite boring: it's mostly me talking and students listening. At most only a few students are actually engaged, and that has always frustrated me. Having to give digital lectures because of corona has only amplified this issue. Besides, I was really worried for the well-being of my students. I give a course in the fourth quarter, just before the all-important BSA, so I am already a little concerned generally, but this year I understood more than ever that not every student was doing well. That is why I wanted to give the best education possible.
So I asked myself the question: as a student, what was the best education for me? It then struck me that I remember my favourite teacher in university more as a friend. He was always happy to help me with whatever questions I had – I really enjoyed that. That made me decide to ‘flip the classroom’. Before the lecture I supply my students with all the information I have, such as videos, exercises and articles. And during the actual lecture, I focus on answering the questions that my students have come up with after studying the material. Initially I found that decision a little unnerving: would students even bother to show up? Luckily it went exactly as I had hoped. I see that students really interact with the subject-matter, and are asking much smarter questions. For the first time in my career I feel that I am teaching in a way that truly fits me.
Honestly, I don’t want to be a traditional teacher. Instead, I want to be a friend that helps students to become better software engineers. And just as trust is the foundation of a good friendship, I want it to be the foundation of education. I trust my students that they want to learn, and they can trust me that I will do everything to help them. Come to think of it, they are also helping me: thanks to their questions I learn something new every lecture.