Professors Make All the Difference
The big difference I experienced at UCF was when I signed up for Western Humanities with Dr. White. Out of all the teachers I had at UCF, I’d say that class inspired me the most. It wasn’t even the great content of the curriculum, but just the manner in which he approached it. We would compare eastern, mid-eastern, and modern themes to traditional western ideas. He spent much of the course juxtaposing these works to western literature or pop culture. We would read Siddhartha one week, followed by the Cyborg’s handbook and Bladerunner the next.
At the time I remember thinking that Dr. White would probably get in trouble. I remember thinking that Dr. White might get in trouble from the university because of his teaching style and was sad about that because I thought it was a really cool way to learn using stuff I was already interested in. But I later signed up for his Western Humanities 2 course and I realized that, at that time, not only did UCF allow it, but seemed to encourage it. And I’m glad they did.
It taught me a few things that I’ve kept with me since. You can learn a lot about a subject by opening your mind and studying things that might seem completely irrelevant. It behooves teachers, and anyone else really, to break the commonly accepted molds and approach things in a new light. This is how you inspire the people you’re teaching to be creative and think outside of the box. It’s something I still try to practice in my day-to-day job in IT. As fast as technology changes, you might be surprised how few people are willing to change. Being willing to show them an alternative, or even just open their minds to new ideas is a great thing.