Behind the Screen: David Wang
David Wang is an instructor at Juni Learning. He holds a MS in Computer Science and a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. David is currently serving in AmeriCorps in the Minneapolis Public Schools.
When did you know you wanted to study Computer Science?
In college, I took a couple of Computer Science classes my freshman year, and I really liked the problem solving aspect of it. It felt like the puzzles I enjoyed as a kid. I felt like it was something that I wanted to explore further, and I continued doing so until I graduated!
Why do you spend your time teaching with Juni?
I really like working with the different students and seeing their takes on different topics we discuss. I’m always surprised each time they approach a problem in a different way than any of the ways I expected.
What do you think is most unique about Juni?
I appreciate that the material we teach is flexible. If I want to take a class in a certain direction based on a student’s needs and preferences, I’m able to do that. I’m also able to shoot ideas off the other instructors and see what works best for my students.
What’s the impact of Juni’s classes being held online?
It’s convenient. 95% of the time, my students are in their bedroom or another room in their home. They’re typically on their own, but if they need help troubleshooting something on the computer, they can ask a parent. On my end, it’s more flexible that way as well. I do most of my teaching at my house or in a coffee shop. I can pretty much hold classes anywhere I have a solid internet connection!
What do you do outside of teaching with Juni?
I work as a support staff member for Minneapolis Public Schools. I have a caseload of students and I support them through the course of the academic year. This is typically done through providing academic support, but it also includes things like handling visas, figuring out how to get a driver license, arranging transportation, or anything on the social-emotional side. I’m there to be a caring adult for students who are “at risk” and can use the extra support during their time in school.
What are some of your teaching principles or strategies?
I try to get to know my students as people. I check in with them at the beginning of each class, and through that I’ve learned about the different extracurriculars they’re a part of, where they went on vacation, their favorite games — just generally what’s going on in their lives. I share about myself too. I think it’s easier for me to form a bond if I know a little bit about them and they know a little bit about me.
Tell us some funny moments you’ve had with your students.
I think it’s funny when students accidentally miss their class because they overslept — it’s totally something I would have done at that age!
What do you do for fun?
I swing dance a lot — maybe a bit too much. I travel across the country to go to swing dance workshops on the weekends. Over the last few years, I’ve ventured out to New Hampshire, Seattle, St. Louis, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Boston for events.