This year, I started volunteering at a program called TEALS. The long term goal is to improve computer science education in the United States by having tech professionals volunteer their time to teach computer science classes in schools that want to offer computer science classes but don’t have the necessary teachers. Over time, the goal is to have the in-service teachers in each class learn the material so that they will be able to teach it in the future. Currently, the program exists in 65 high schools across 12 states and offers both Intro to Computer Science and AP Computer Science but I’m looking forward to seeing it expand nationwide and into middle and elementary schools.
Throughout the year, I plan on documenting my experiences remote teaching at a high school in Kentucky as well as sharing the lessons I’ve learned. So far, it’s been a little more than a week and I already developed a much bigger appreciation for teachers and the effort required. The most time consuming piece so far has been preparing daily lessons that balance the requirements of the AP test and everyone’s skills and interests while still being engaging enough when delivered via a video chat. I also discovered the difference between lecturing and teaching: my initial approach was to just go through the prepared slides but am now spending a lot more time thinking about tricky concepts and the exercises that will both get the point across and keep students engaged. The best approach so far has been starting a class with a brief explanation of the concepts, going through some tricky exercises, and then diving into code to put it all together.
If you have computer science experience this is a awesome program to volunteer for so please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.