It’s funny now, but looking back, my first experience with Java was not exactly love-at-first-sight. In fact, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed. “Variables? Objects? Constructors? Gahh!!!” As I attempted to wrap my head around the new language, I felt that I was in an isolated world: just me, my overheating laptop, and my fickle code. This experience made me all the more motivated and determined to help others who were experiencing similar feelings while learning.
Because I wanted to help people learn, I pursued a master’s in STEM education. Originally, I thought I’d end up as a teacher at a brick and mortar school, helping students in person. But I realized I wanted to make a difference beyond the traditional classroom — and Udacity gives me that opportunity every day. Here I interact with students from all over the world, with diverse backgrounds, locations, and ages. I never thought that I could reach so many students through personal interaction until I came to Udacity — hooray, technology!
Now, everyday I work one-on-one with students as they make their way through Intro to Programming in Java. We use text chat, video calls, and even phone calls. Together we master challenging concepts through in-depth discussions of the course, and tackle rigorous exercises by coding side-by-side (virtually). It’s really amazing that I have the privilege everyday to be a part of our students’ learning processes.
Some of my favorite parts of coaching are providing code feedback, sharing programming best practices, developing personalized weekly learning plans for my students, and helping student keep themselves accountable and on schedule. Working with my students through their frustrations and celebrating with them when the learning light bulb flashes on — these are the moments I work for!
As a Udacity Coach, I have the opportunity to make sure my students experience as many “a-ha!” moments as possible. And every day, I get to work with an enthusiastic team who is equally excited by student learning, which is also pretty awesome. And that’s why I love working at Udacity 🙂