Mario Badr, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

TA Teaching Excellence Award 2015

DID YOU ATTEND ANY OF THE TEACHING ASSISTANT TRAINING COURSES OR WORKSHOPS OFFERED BY CTSI/TATP? IF SO, WHICH ONE WORKSHOP WAS MOST USEFUL FOR YOU AND WHY?
The most useful workshop was the Pedagogy workshop – or at least it was the most interesting. It actually taught some of the theory behind teaching. Demystifying Library Research and Teaching Students in Difficulty were also very helpful and have proved to be practical in my every-day teaching environment.

HOW DO YOU ENVISION WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GREAT TEACHING IN YOUR DISCIPLINE?
A great teacher in Computer Engineering not only has a firm grasp of technical concepts, but is also able to invite discussion on these concepts while still teaching the curriculum at hand. I experienced this in a kernel course in my 3rd year that I never wanted to take – the ability for the professor to teach the material while having a conversation (about semiconductor physics) is something I strive for.

YOU RECEIVED A 2014 TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARD. WHAT DOES THIS RECOGNITION MEAN TO YOU?
I love to teach and have poured many (extra) hours into my tutorials and labs as a TA. The award was great, but the fact that many students helped me get it means that I actually had an impact (or so I hope). I have received emails after receiving the initial nomination and award from past students, and some even stopped me in the hallways. It’s a great feeling that’s difficult to put into words.

CAN YOU RECALL A TEACHING WHO INSPIRED YOU?
There are many! Micah Stickel, Natalie Enright Jerger, Peter Weiss, Jason Bazylak, Jonathan Rose, Jason Anderson, Vaughn Betz, Tarek Abdel-Rahman… the list goes on!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS?
The advice I used to give was “Go to every class.” The advice I give now is “Pay attention in every class you go to.” Simply being there is not enough – you need to be engaged. Part of that is the Professor’s responsibility, but if you’re actively on your phone/hung-over/eating, then you might as well have stayed home.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW TAs?
Relax, breath, and feel free to answer with “I don’t know – let me get back to you”. (Don’t forget to actually get back to them!)