Posted by Anna Auguszt, September 12 2023
I sat down with Wolf from Leipzig for an online interview, and he told me about his experiences while he was a volunteer teacher at one of our partner organizations, the Redi School of Digital Integration. Wolf has a diploma in Communication Design, and today, he spends most of his professional time in the digital sphere as a User Experience Designer (aka UX Designer).
Wolf gave a small group of young international students an online course, a detailed “UX/UI Design Basics” crash course from September to December last year. His students were equally interested in design and IT and were enthusiastic about learning more about the topic without any previous knowledge. He tells me that the course’s initiative was giving students an entry course to become professionals. For the first time, Wolf became a volunteer teacher, and he found the opportunity that presented itself a valuable experience.
When teaching and giving homework to the students, he prepared exercises with tools like Figma and customized the course theme to his taste. He made sure to give students practical knowledge as the course’s end goal was to present and use their newly acquired knowledge in the field and to design interfaces and apps that are easy to use. Wolf said he enjoyed teaching because he felt knowledgeable in UX/UI design. He believes that ultimately, he managed everything well, even teaching, and no one was confused - which is a considerable achievement for someone new to teaching.
Wolf happily remembered the highlights of his brief volunteer teaching career: “It was good to see students come up with ideas of their own by using their UX knowledge to create something permanent.” Wolf mentioned that it was vital that he could encourage, communicate with, and instruct students on how to do things better and concurrently provide them with knowledge. The communication within the class was always seamless, and students could reach out to him when necessary. Wolf also remembered that internal communication with other teachers was well-managed, and their “Teachers Hub” included essential links and resources for all teachers.
Wolf would have improved: "Time management, which is often a challenge in teaching, especially when much practice is done, but it got better with experience.” He added that he could have prepared a more sophisticated presentation with more time. However, Redi School provided all teaching materials; thus, only his input and insights were needed during teaching.
After going through the advantages and minor disadvantages of volunteer teaching, Wolf told me that he would personally advise others to volunteer to teach and give workshops. His main advice is to present on a topic that you feel confident in because, in general, what you will do is knowledge-share, which requires expertise, and you have to learn how to approach the audience in the best way possible. So, he suggested that being fully committed to one’s workshop topic is pivotal to giving a successful workshop. In short, “teach the topic you are most passionate about and have experience in, and your students will appreciate and benefit from your knowledge and enthusiasm.”
Wolf concluded our talk by saying he would do his course again if he found time. According to him, pride is the byproduct of being a volunteer teacher because, in a way, he contributed and shared his knowledge with students who benefitted from his and Redi School’s toolkit.
Taking pride in becoming a volunteer educator is one thing that we are very content about because teaching others and knowledge-sharing make both sides satisfied. Our main priority at TeachSurfing is to ensure quality education for everyone so that students and educators can profit from knowledge transfer. The most outstanding outcome is when educators and students are equally happy.
Online interview conducted on the 28th of June 2023 on behalf of TeachSurfing.