My new life as a computer science teacher

It’s December and I’m finally finding my bearings and feel I have the time on the weekend to sit down and tell you about my new adventure! In June 2022, I got hired for a full time computer science position and let me tell you… I love it!!

(My students are fantastic. They are excited about learning how to program and they make me smile every day. This post is mostly about the subject of computer science itself as compared to teaching biology or chemistry, but I had to mention how much I love my students first. I am building classroom community and getting to know the culture and larger school community. And the seniors included me in their spirit week theme so that felt pretty awesome!)

The seniors honored me with a wanted poster in their western themed spirit week hallway decorations!

Teaching computer science is VERY different from teaching biology or chemistry or a more traditional lab science. There is less content to cover, less vocabulary/terms, and the subject itself leads to a lot of classroom projects all based on creative problem solving and thinking outside of the box. I love teaching less than 5 minutes of a class period, giving students a problem or task to solve using creative thinking about algorithms, and spending the rest of the class period interacting with students one on one! The subject itself is terrific for teaching teamwork skills and for teaching students how to collaborate with each other.

Another aspect of computer science I love is that the students, every single one of them, want to be there. I teach three different levels of computer science and all my classes are elective courses. (Computer science at this time is not required in New Jersey for students.). Teaching electives is something new to me and I love it!

(And I know I shouldn’t say this to an audience of laboratory science teachers who spend hours and hours and hours a week prepping labs… I don’t miss prepping labs. I love being able to prep creative computer assignments from wherever I am!)

Instead of chemicals and microscopes, I now have a lot of random props which include Pokemon cards! I use these to model data/objects.

I have a computer science lab classroom with 24 computers that are in pretty great shape! I spent several days over the summer making sure every computer and keyboard and mouse worked and all the necessary software was installed. As with all technology, there have been a few hiccups here and there, but overall, it has been great. One thing I realized though is that computer labs do not have ANY storage space and I was used to science lab classrooms that have so many cabinets and drawers!

One side of my large computer science lab classroom!

That’s a quick update of my life so far as a computer science teacher! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email if you would like to hear more or if you have any questions about my biology or chemistry teacher resources. I don’t often answer them during the week but I can on the weekend!
Have a great holiday!

The Teacher Prep Room is back for Summer 2021!