This past term, Anton Kishchenko, Cloud Systems Architect at TZOA, decided to take giving back in another direction: he took time away from work to teach a half day a week for a term.
As a recent Computer Forensics Bachelor of Technology (BTech) program grad, Anton sat on the BCIT Forensics Program Advisory Committee (PAC). Then as his role in industry migrated to more hands-on software development and system architecture, he lent his expertise to the Computing PAC. His understanding of the programs was aided by his original BCIT diploma in Computer Information Technology (CIT).
As a BCIT student, Anton remembers being vocal. He frequently expressed ideas about the material and how it could be taught or improved. When the Dean told the PAC that more instructors were needed for the burgeoning computing programs, Anton’s multifaceted experience and interests seemed to be a fit.
Taking industry to the classroom to help students
“I decided to take the plunge and support the sector growth,” explains Anton.
He thinks the model is really valuable. “Taking industry into the classroom helps BCIT stay current and know what’s going on in companies.”
The model didn’t only benefit BCIT, however. He says teaching a class for a semester is the ultimate way to vet a couple dozen candidates for a junior position.
“Teaching a class gives you a first pick of any potential graduates,” Anton advises.
“You can assess them technically as well as their soft skills – you have a lot of touch points on which to validate their suitability for hiring.” He thinks the value to an employer could be significant, especially given the cost of finding the right new hire.
Giving back and but also taking
Anton admits he’s always been motivated to contribute back to BCIT because of its role in his own skill development, approach, and values: “I believe giving back helps move the needle on what’s important.”
His takeaway was significant too. “Being an educator, having public speaking skills, are really valuable in our profession – it’s not always normative, but really important.” The Instructional Skills Workshops at BCIT help instructors improve their approach.
“Teaching in the classroom helped hone my ability to mentor and teach at work.”
Being an instructor also helped Anton refine his skills and knowledge. “You can only be sure you understand something if you can teach it to someone else. I recognized my own blind spots when I had to teach the topics,” he admits.
Fitting in new projects in a thriving sector
Anton acknowledges that teaching made for a busy three months. “I sometimes underestimate what a task involves – but it makes me take on challenges.”
He says it was really interesting to be on the opposite side of the desk. “Beyond the subject matter, there’s a whole other skill set involved in teaching.”
Fulfilling way to support the text generation of learners
Anton encourages those working in industry to stretch themselves in a new way. “It’s an excellent way to develop higher-level fulfillment in your profession, to grow professionally. This experience can be meaningful to others and contribute to the greater good.”
“Absolutely – go and try it.”
Interested in teaching computing at BCIT? Learn more about teaching at BCIT.