As a college instructor, there is one thing that I rarely have ever talked about and that is how I have improved my skills. Every day in class I am constantly being asked to help solve student programming problems and demonstrate and explain my solutions. There has rarely been a time when I couldn’t come up with a solution.
The other skill that I have developed is solving problems “over the air”. What this entails is being able to solve a student’s problems without even seeing their code. I ask a series of questions and by the time we get to the second or third question the student has resolved their own problem.
I highly recommend that you give teaching of any kind a try. It will not only help your students but yourself.
Today marks the beginning of my fourth year as a college instructor at Clark College. I’m amazed at how quickly the time flies by. Here are a few things that I have learned about teaching at a community college that I thought I would share with you:
- Seeing students graduate from your program and getting jobs is awesome.
- Office hours are a thing of the past. Virtual office hours are seven days a week.
- 10-30% of your students truly want to learn and the others simply go through the “motions” of school.
- Teach to the “middle” of the class.
- Teaching people who range in age from 13 to 75 is extremely rewarding and challenging; especially when they are all in the same class.
- Excuses are a constant.
- Classroom management is not as easy as people think it is.
- Developing the right mix of assignments, testing, labs and other assessments takes time to develop and constantly needs tweeking.
- I love what I am doing.
- I’m always learning new things.
I highly encourage anyone who is thinking about teaching at a college or university to do it. Your first couple of semesters will be rough but, once you realize the impact you make on students lives, you will embrace and love doing it.
I’m always available if you want to talk about becoming a college instructor or want to learn more about the web development program at Clark College.
I just received this message from a graduate of the Clark College Web Development program:
Hey Bruce! Just wanted to say hi and give you an update. I’ve been at my front end developer job for almost three months and I received an awesome 90 day review from my employer (they had nothing bad to say about me and everything is going well). So this career has been pretty awesome for me so far. You really made a difference in my life when you mentored me because I wouldn’t have gotten this far without your guidance.
I am very blessed.
Here’s my teaching schedule for the Winter Quarter at Clark College:
- Monday/Wednesday: CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming and Problem Solving at Clark College/Washington State University (2-4:20pm/Room 104)
- Tuesday/Thursday: CTEC 122 – HTML Fundamentals (12-1:50pm/Room SHL 124) and CTEC 127 – PHP with SQL (3:30-5:50pm/Room SHL 124)
My office is SHL 127 located in Scarpelli Hall.
Back in the 1980s when I went to college, the only way you could learn about a professor was by word of mouth. Todays students use a site called “RateMyProfessor.com”. After each quarter, I cautiously take a peek at this site to see what ratings my students gave me and I was humbled to see these:
“The legends say he never sleeps…” You can’t hide in Bruce’s class: he gets to know you, and what you need to succeed. I have never met a more attentive teacher, he is almost always available to help any student. Never have I felt such a sense of community , or had so much fun in a classroom. The world needs more teachers like Bruce Elgort.
Bruce is my favorite teacher at Clark. He is funny, and he makes sure to pay attention to each student. He teaches a handful of classes, so choose him when you can! Always jokes around, but is really good at what he does and will drop everything to help you. even at 3 am on Twitter. Even on final projects. Beware: Will make you feel like family.
Bruce is literally my favorite teacher at Clark. He is great at demystifying difficult subjects, and keeping the tone of the class playful. He, is always available to help students with troubleshooting projects. I would recommend anyone in the CTEC program or on the fence about joining, to take one of Bruce’s classes.
Bruce always inspires you to push the limits of what you can do in his class. He is encouraging, helpful, and understanding. He knows the abilities of all his students, pushes the advanced ones and patiently works with the beginners. I feel he is on of those rare people who makes the lives of everyone around him better for being in it.
Bruce is a great teacher. He is more concerned about his students learning than just trying to trip them up on test. He is available practically 24/7. I e-mailed once at 2:00am and had a reply in 5 minutes. I wish he taught more of my classes.
Bruce is by far the best instructors I have had. Yes the classes he teaches are challenging due to subject matter but he does what ever he can to help. This quarter he was at a family event in Denver and when I needed his help rather than wait until he returned he just sent text back and forth with me for an hour to help me and answer my questions.