I must have been a nightmare when I was growing up as a little kid. I was extremely curious and impatient, trying to make sense of that incredible puzzle that life turned out to be. I was listening, I was observing, I was making connections and I was exploring everything whenever I had a chance to do so. Once I was finished with crawling our modest apartment, my curiosity turned to numerous books and magazines which happened to be everywhere. Even before I learned how to read, I found myself spending hours flipping through pages that I didn’t understand. Every time I pulled that book or magazine from the shelf and browsed its pages, I was inventing stories and interpretations, trying to make sense of what I was looking at. You see, we lived in a relatively small apartment in the Soviet Minsk, Belarus, with tall ceilings, squared rooms, a little kitchen and plenty of large wooden windows. I still remember the intoxicating, rich, wooden smell which kept drawing me to those windows—even when my mum cooked her delicious soups and meatballs and potatoes and chicken and cakes and cookies. I liked opening them and feeling the texture of the wood, and I loved the squeaky sound they made whenever I opened the doors. We lived on the third floor and a large, wide street was crossing the bedroom windows in our apartment, so being as curious as I was, I was always trying to peek in there to see what’s happening outside. However, the window-sill was located quite high above the heating battery, so however hard I tried to stand on my toes, I couldn’t see anything but the wooden edges of the window’s frame. Obviously, this wasn’t acceptable, so almost every single day I would grab a chair from the kitchen and bring it over to the bedroom, then position it strategically against the window and climb up the chair through the heating battery. Whenever I wasn’t satisfied with the final result, I would climb off the chair again, relocate the chair appropriately to the left or to the right, climb it up again and iterate the whole procedure. Finally, whenever the sweet spot was found, I could then spend hours observing moving trees, walking families, red buses, dusty cars and busy strangers with suitcases running late to work. One day when going through my regular grab-chair-climb-to-the-window-routine, I noticed my grandfather—a very smart, kind, passionate and hard-working geology professor who taught his craft at the university—watching me in the back as I was painstakingly carrying over the chair from the kitchen. He didn’t say anything, but I will never forget his kind, gentle smile that was telling me much more than any words could say. He pulled his hands towards me, grabbed me with one arm, pulled the chair with another and walked towards the bedroom. I remember looking at him and wondering how he could know my little secret, and whether I wasn’t careful enough to protect it in some way. Finally, he placed the chair next to the window and put me right on it, just at the right spot for me to lean over the window-sill and position my little hands to the cheeks and start observing.It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm yet windy day. There was nothing special about what I saw outside the window, but the scenery alone, while being quite unspectacular per se, made me almost certain that something was about to happen outside the window, as if I was browsing through a huge book with pictures instead of the actual street. The wind was flowing over my hair and shoulders, and the window would close and open because of the wind. My grandfather left the room and came back a moment later. In his hands he had a thick stitched book which was quite old and yellowing, with torn edges and numerous coffee stains, without a proper cover and a dislocated spine. He put the book next to me and started explaining what it was and what it all meant. As I found out later, it was one of the many books he wrote a while back and although it didn’t have many images, it contained many notes and doodles added by him at work and at home. I probably didn’t understand a single word he was saying, but I really liked flipping through the pages and creating a story of my own. We spent the whole evening flipping through pages and observing the streets outside together. Just before bringing me to bed, my grandfather pulled the book and put it against the window so the fresh, windy air could flow into the room. Even years later, after my grandfather has died, this book stayed there on the window-sill, letting fresh windy air into the room. Hardly one evening passed after that evening when I didn’t bring a book together with a kitchen chair to the bedroom window.I don’t remember my first years very well, but I vividly remember this single evening. I also remember endlessly flipping through the books I didn’t understand and observing people I would never meet. And sometimes I think that in many ways it has defined my personality and sparked my interest and creativity, leading me to becoming who I am today. As I found out later on, my grandfather was an intelligent, patient man with a big heart and generous soul; he wasn’t light-hearted and liked challenging his students, but they loved him and kept writing kind letters even years after they finished studying. I could never be as generous, engaging and smart as he was, but one of my goals this year has been figuring out whether I could be a good teacher.It’s not easy, but I am not taking this task light-hearted either. I love speaking in front of the students, and I love seeing this excitement in their eyes—the same excitement I had when I was studying. This igniting eagerness to learn and to master, to explore and to question status quo. The talks that I remember best during my studies aren’t the ones given by my professors but the ones presented by guest lecturers. Some of these talks have significantly influenced the direction of my life, and I can remember actually preparing myself for those lectures weeks ahead, studying biographies, articles, books and related talks.They meant something to me—something that went far beyond just a talk given by somebody I respected. It was more about seeing a perspective of how things could evolve in the future and what matters in real life, in practice, beyond theory and the dusty pages of all those thick textbooks. Those talks encouraged me to do something valuable, to understand how the world actually works and find my place in it.Now, years later, I am looking forward to challenging myself to do the same to other students. Starting in March, I am honoured to start teaching at a university in Odense, Denmark, and I can’t wait to look into the eyes of the students to see that same eagerness I had when I was younger. I know already that I will be spending hours and hours and hours thinking about what to add to the course, what to mention and what not to forget and what to discuss and what to point out and what to emphasize and how to make the best out of it. But it’s worth it, because for students this could be very similar to what I experienced—when flipping through pages at the window-sill or listening to guest lecturers at the university: a perspective on how the world works and where my place in it could be.If you happen to know a student community group or teachers in a local school or university, perhaps you’d like to explore the opportunity of giving students an insight into your work. Share your failures, your successes, your design process, your workflow, your thinking and what design, development and user experience actually mean to you. You won’t regret the feeling you’ll discover once you see that kind, gentle, smiling face of a successful, smart designer or developer that you used to teach back in the day.