These few paragraphs were originally meant to be delivered as a small end of semester speech, but I decided to post it here instead.
First off, thank you so much for taking this class and for attending discussion. There’s a lot of hype around CS 61A of course, but I really hope that this course lived up to your expectations. Your time is valuable, and I’m glad you’ve chosen to spend some fraction of it learning this intensive subject. You’ve put in a lot of hard work, and you almost certainly don’t get enough recognition for that.
I also want to acknowledge that while this class covers a ton of ground in one semester, there is plenty it doesn’t teach you about computer science. In fact, there are things none of the classes here at Berkeley teach you. These include soft skills like perseverance and time management. But there’s also topics like CS ethics, the impact of technology on society, and thinking critically about who has access to technology.
Now that you know a bit more about programming, you’re part of a group of people that have the opportunity to shape the future direction of technology. It’s up to you to research, think about, and discuss these tricky topics with others. It’s also very easy to not think about this at all — this is the path of least resistance I hope that you avoid. I don’t really care so much what you think — but I do really care that you decide to think about these tough technology issues.
Finally, this is my last time teaching CS 61A. I’m graduating after this semester, and I’ve been involved with this course every semester I’ve been here. I took the course back in Fall 2014. I first started TAing back in Fall 2015.
To be honest, this is a tough thing to say, and I feel quite emotional about this moment. Choosing to teach this course was one of the best decisions of my life, and it has been with me through both the good and the bad times. It’s been a lot of fun, and this semester has been no exception. So thank you again for coming, but also thank you so much for being a part of my teaching experience.
I want to end on a slightly more positive note. This course is run mostly by students like you, who have decided that they wanted to give back to the Berkeley CS community by sharing their knowledge. If that’s something that sounds interesting to you, I really encourage you to get more involved with teaching.
Farewell, CS 61A!