I am extremely lucky and grateful to have been able to teach one of my favourite topics (theoretical computer science) during the Fall 2023 term at McGill University. I met a countless number of brilliant undergrads who made the experience so much fun. Here are some moments I am particularly fond of:

  • Landing my first joke during Lecture 1. I won’t spoil it, but it had something to do with my name…
  • The introduction of the italian expressions at the beginning of every lecture. Around Week 3 or 4, I decided that I would start every lecture by telling the class an italian expression. This idea was inspired by one of my favourite lecturers, Prakash, who usually starts his lectures by recounting some important historical facts. The first expression was Basta la pasta and the last one was Essere buono come il pane.
  • The implementation of granola bar office hours. This was also inspired by another one of my favourite lecturers, Nancy Acemian, who used to give out snacks during her office hours. I thought I would give it a shot and I’m happy to report that some undergrads went a little less hungry during the semester because of Quaker.
  • Reading the midterm evaluations. I was elated to know that some students were enjoying the class and that my explanations were making sense. I was doubly enthused by the number of people who did well on the midterm.
  • Inviting Prakash for a guest lecture. It was a true honour to introduce Prakash as a guest lecturer for one of the Comp 330 lectures. He talked about the history of computability theory and the infamous halting problem.
  • Giving two blackboard lectures. The first one was unplanned (the S1/4 projector was being capricious), but still enjoyable (to me at least!). The second one which I held during the last lecture was very much planned. I used Hagoromo chalk.
  • Taking a class picture with the students at the end of my last lecture. Because I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy, I will not post it here. Instead, here are a few pictures that my friend, Ian Porada, and a student took of me during my last lecture.

Picture 1: Me quickly erasing the board. I was rushing through content as I was trying to show the students the incredibly cool infinite chain of increasingly more impossible problems.

Picture 2: Me very happily pointing at this infinite chain of increasingly more impossible problems. I had talked about this during Lecture 1 and so I was extremely happy to finish the class having come full circle.

Overall, teaching has been a wonderful experience. It is a privilege to be a part of other people’s education. I hope to do it again in the future!