It was never Shanik Azcárate’s plan to be a teacher. When she was growing up in Mexico, and was a student herself, she would always think about how hard her teachers’ jobs were. They had to manage a classroom, share knowledge, and make sure all their students were doing well in their lessons.
“I thought ‘I would never want to do that,’” she said.
But if life has taught Shanik anything, it’s never to say never. She’s going into her sixteenth year of teaching this year.
“I love teaching,” she said. “I believe fully that teaching is what I do best and what I love the most, doesn’t matter where it is or what topic I teach.”
How does an artist become a coding teacher?
Shanik is a free spirit; she’s an artist who loves to travel and doesn’t like to live in one place for long. In fact, it was art that brought her to teaching for the first time.
“My first job as a teacher was at an atelier where we gave private art classes,” she said. “I was offered a job as an assistant and noticed how fulfilling it was to be able to share my knowledge with someone else and nourish myself with what they could teach me. From that day on I’ve never stopped teaching.”
Shanik earned her degree in art education from the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro in Mexico, but moved on to teaching other subjects as well, including English, yoga, acro-yoga and eventually coding at Tekkie Uni. Tekkie Uni was part of Shanik’s goal of living a nomadic lifestyle.
“I wanted to work remotely so that I could achieve my goal of traveling while working,” she said. She found Tekkie while looking for a job that would let her teach while traveling. The job ad she saw was looking for a ‘creative instructor’ so Shanik applied immediately, thinking that the job sounded like it was made just for her.
Coding was new to Shanik but teaching creatively was not — she was hooked after seeing the demo of how classes worked at Tekkie.
“I love teaching any subject and this was a great chance to expand my teaching skills,” she said. “I like how creative Tekkie Uni’s program is and how simple it is to share with the kids.”
What’s the difference between teaching in person and online?
Shanik loves the challenge of helping a student who is struggling with their lessons. When a student says they don’t know something, or can’t do the work, she loves seeing their faces after their first achievement. She loves their pride when they see what they’ve been able to do.
“The first thing I do is recognize their work,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how small or big the achievement is. The path is different for every individual and I believe that not only for coding, but for everything in life, it’s important to let people know their work is worth it all.”
However, because she’s spent so many years teaching in a classroom, teaching online where she could not see her students face to face, was a challenge at first.
“The first time I taught at Tekkie Uni was a big challenge because I use my eyes whenever I teach in person, and I have always noticed what someone is missing just by looking at them,” she said. “Having to give a class without being able to see them and talking in front of a computer was scary at first.”
Shanik has learned to adapt her teaching style, finding different ways to be aware of her students’ needs in class — listening to their voices, watching their chats, and observing the way they interact in class.
“I had to be aware of my students in a different way,” she said. “At the same time, I saw it as a way to improve my teaching skills, as well as the learning processes of each student.”
Differentiating instruction is very important to Shanik and it’s a big part of her teaching style.
“I believe that one of the best challenges has been learning to teach through different learning processes,” she said. “Every person learns and gets information in different ways. Being able to share the information in an accurate way so that everyone can understand, finding new ways to explain and being comprehensive when someone takes longer has helped me expand my learning and teaching skills.”