Tom Crawford is a Mobile Engineering (iOS) instructor at The Iron Yard. He has been with the school for over a year and previously taught at the Washington D.C. campus. Recently, he moved to Detroit to join the new Detroit team and begin teaching there.
We wanted to learn a bit more about Tom and his teaching style. But instead of asking him a bunch of questions, we decided to reach out the people who know the instructor best -- his students. Katie, Dustin and Mike were kind enough to take the time to tell us what they think about Tom (Spoiler alert: They love him!).
Here are 7 things we learned about Tom from his students:
1. He has high expectations. For everyone.
Mike: “Tom expects a lot from you, but I think that's because he expects a lot of himself. Every class was prepared in advance and it was clear that he had actually tried out the lesson prior to presenting it. This is important because with the fast-paced nature of how software works, what may have compiled a month ago may require a tweak to get it to work today.”
2. His passion shines through his teaching.
Dustin: “Tom is passionate about teaching and what he's teaching. You can tell he likes what he does and it makes things fun. ... Tom doesn't mind telling you how it is. He will tell you if you need to/can figure something out on your own.“
3. He uses his industry know-how to help students.
Katie: “Tom has a lot experience in the field, both working for big companies and freelancing. Not only did he help us learn how to build apps, he was also able to help us navigate the industry.
When I was interviewing and considering job offers, Tom helped me understand what questions I should be asking, and what things I should be looking for.”
4. His success = students’ success
Dustin: “Tom [is] a friend and a mentor. I haven't hesitated to approach him with career questions. I admire how Tom is proud of his students and how he tries to stay in touch.”
Katie: “Tom genuinely cares about his students' success, and is incredibly patient with students who are just beginning.”
5. His teaching style is diverse.
Mike: “I'd say it's a bit like an apprenticeship. I've always learned best by being shown how to do something. Instead of learning theory first, we dove head on into code on Day 1, had a functioning app that evening, and the pace never let up from there. Watching Tom's programming style and mimicking his best practices has served me well in my first coding job out of school. I've received praise from my bosses for my work which is a direct result from picking up his best-practices.”
Katie: “His teaching style is patient and organized. I can tell that Tom has really thought about how to present the information in a cohesive way, and iterated on his lesson plans.”
6. He’s not going to just give you the answers. (And that’s a good thing!)
Mike: “Tom's a natural teacher. He's patient and shows you how to find the answer on your own. That part is critical because once you leave class and get a real job, a large majority of your time is spent puzzling out problems and figuring out why your code doesn't work. Recognizing common errors and knowing how and what to Google is what will sustain you long after class ends.”
7. Tom is awesome despite his thing about … Legos?
Mike: “Tom is hands down one of the best iOS instructors in the country. I'm thrilled I was able to move 3 states away to be in his class and learn directly from him. He's got the perfect mix of practical real-world job experience and the heart of a teacher. I've only ever seen him lose his temper once, and that was when someone broke one of his Lego sets. You couldn't ask for a better person to learn from, for real. But seriously, stay away from his Legos.”