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Changes I Plan To Make

Recently I read an article by Noa Gutow-Ellis a 10th grader in Houston, Texas:

http://www.teachthought.com/industry/what-makes-teachers-great-from-the-perspective-of-a-10th-grader/

that was highlighted on Twitter by Edutopia. In her article she describes an outstanding teacher. She states that there are four traits that make a teacher remarkable:

  • Teachers that care about us both in and out of the classroom
  • Teachers that are beyond passionate
  • Teachers that plan unforgettable lessons
  • Teachers that aren't afraid to be challenged.
  • As I was reading the article, I was thinking about how I could emulate each of these qualities in a computer science classroom because I want to inspire my students to learn computer science.

    Here are my thoughts about the first point: Teachers that care about us both in and out of the classroom. Some of my students are in the U.S. without parents. They have student visas and live with a relative or board with another family. I have presented lessons on phishing schemes that have benefited my students in the past. I can think of one student that after my presentation was caught in a phishing scam and approached me for advice. I am also taking this into the future. I plan to have guest speakers during Computer Science education week to discuss possible career choices for my students.

    For the second point: Teachers that are beyond passionate, I need to share my passion. I will have to find a way to stay energetic because my computer science classes have been schedule at the end of the day rather than at the beginning. I am still thinking about this one. I need to bring in how computer science is used in areas that my students are interested in.

    I have some ideas for the third point: Teachers that plan unforgettable lessons. I attended a Tapestry Workshop a few months ago where Seth Reichelson from Florida spoke about his lessons. I hope to incorporate some of those into my class. Also, during the same workshop, Robert Luciano from Pocono Mountain East High School, Swiftwater, PA spoke about using logic problems as a warm-up activity. It motivates his students to get to class to start working on them. Linda McDaniel from Wesleyan School, Norcross, GA during the Tapestry Workshop told me that she tried it this past school year and it had the same affect on his class. I have purchased Critical Thinking, The Daily Spark from Amazon to use as logic problems. Also, the parent support group at my school has agreed to purchase 9 Finch robots for my class. I want to use these as part of an unforgettable lesson.

    The last point is Teachers that aren't afraid to be challenged. I am willing to let students question what we are doing and suggest a better way to do it. I enjoy and welcome the challenge that their way is better and let them work to prove it.

    I am looking forward to the beginning of the school year and working to incorporate each of these traits into my computer science classroom.

    What are your ideas about incorporating any of these traits into your computer science class?

    Myra Deister
    CSTA At-Large Representative

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