My first few weeks of Teaching

Posted: September 20, 2013 in Mental Reboot, Teaching
Tags: ,

As I’ve mentioned before, I volunteered to teach Introduction to Computer Science to high school students this year.

So far there are two big things I’ve learned.   I’m sure neither of these things will be particularly surprising to anyone who’s been in the classroom before, but I thought I’d share these quickly today in hopes that I can then get back into the swing of  a more regular blogging schedule.

The first thing is – This is a lot of work.  I am volunteering to teach one class with one other programmer also volunteering as a teacher and a third volunteer as a TA.  And there is a great ‘real’ teacher in the classroom making sure we don’t go too far off the rails.  So one class, lots of help, and I’m still putting in many more hours of preparation and grading time than I am in the classroom.  I’m sure part of that is that I’m used to my work product being wrapped up in a box and shipped to millions of people so I’m imposing some weird and useless perfectionism that is completely counterproductive for lesson planning.  And another large part of it is that this is the very first time I’ve done anything like this.  Presumably real teachers do some lesson prep and even student teach some classes to get ramped up during their own schooling.  But still, my hat is off to anyone who does this as a full time job.

And the second thing is (wait for it).  The students make it absolutely worthwhile.  The number of “Aha!” moments that I’ve witnessed in just the first few weeks is already uncountable (okay, maybe not in the strict mathematical sense of the word, but certainly to my old brain) and every one of them has been amazing.

So hopefully I’ll become more efficient at preparing and grading and have a bit more time to get back to other things like blogging.

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