AUBG Students Teaching Software Through Stories and Jokes
The 2017 Spring Semester is just kicking in with its third week, but for some it already feels like the post-More-Honors-pre-finals time. Having in mind the amount of work that needs to be done, it is hard to imagine anyone deliberately loading themselves with something else than studies or swamping with any commitments but to student clubs. Katalina Dimitrova and Nikolay Babev, fourth-year students at AUBG, are two rare exceptions that fall out of this general rule.
Dimitrova and Babev manage not only to double-major in Computer Science and Economics, and Computer Science and Information Systems respectively, carry on their RA duties, and participate in student clubs on campus, but also teach programming and coding at Software University (SoftUni).
SoftUni is a non-profit organization aiming at making software education more accessible for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Founded by Svetlin Nakov, a prominent Bulgarian software engineer and project manager, SoftUni offers classes in 28 cities around Bulgaria.
Nakov, who endorsed AUBG’s Hack Blagoevgrad forum on his social media, expressed his interest in hiring AUBG students as trainers for SoftUni’s classes held in Blagoevgrad. . “They were looking for professional trainers willing to do it, we had our short interview and got the positions,” Babev said.
Both Dimitrova and Babev did not have any teaching experience prior to starting their work at SoftUni. However, both of them had an opportunity to attend classes at SoftUni which familiarized them with teaching techniques and the structure of the course. Babev and Dimitrova work as a team, dividing the material taught in class between each other. While AUBG helped them get equipped with necessary knowledge and skills, they prefer taking a different approach to teaching computer programming: fire the device and start coding.
“We are teaching as though we are telling a story. Sometimes we crack jokes,” Babev commented. “We also try to do more of live-coding. When something is moving on the board, it is easier for [students] to follow,” Dimitrova added.
Apart from preparing during the week between and after their regular classes, they see it challenging to find ways to deliver the material in an entertaining and interesting manner. “You have to be perfect,” they said, adding that they try to be professional and patient, and treat every student equally. “We really want to inspire. It feels good to see your students being able to reproduce what we taught them. In general, it is a very rewarding feeling to be a teacher,” both shared.
“You set your priorities, give up on such things as TV-shows, sometimes club meetings, or whatever it takes. As every AUBG student, we do everything the last moment, and, as you can imagine, for us the Friday evening is not the night out in Underground, but a night in front of the computer,” Dimitrova and Babev expressed laughingly, speaking about balancing their AUBG life with teaching at SoftUni.