Skip to main content

C'est la Z

What They Used To Know

I saw this tweet by Julia Evans the other day. if you've been working in computing for > 15 years -- are there fundamentals that you learned "on the job" 15 years ago that you think most people aren't learning on the job today? (I'm thinking about how for example nobody has ever paid me to write C code) — 🔎Julia Evans🔍 (@b0rk) September 9, 2021 I've never met Julia but have been following her on Twitter and reading her blog for some time now.
# COMMENTS

A Memorable Lesson (at least for one student)

Back to calling an audible. Around seven years ago I was visiting with some former students at Google in Mountain View. One of them from way back in the late 90s, Pawel, out of the blue said there was one lesson I taught that was particularly memorable. Not memorable in the "that was fun" way like maybe my Halloween adventures but memorable in that he felt he got a lot more out of it than a normal lesson.
# COMMENTS

Should every assignment be open ended?

This post by my friend Alfred caught my eye yesterday. It's a good post - some good examples of inserting student creativity even into small intro level assignments. While I like the post and agree with the sentiment of open ended, student driven projects, I had to take issue with the lead quote Alfred used: “If you assign a project and get back 30 of the same thing, that’s not a project, that is a recipe.
# COMMENTS

Calling an audible

Be ready to call an audible. This was advice I got during my third year teaching. I had just transferred from Seward Park to Stuy and was being observed for the first time by my former teacher and now supervisor Richie Rothenberg. I forget exactly what the lesson was on - something with coordinate geometry I think. The lesson was okay but it wasn't going over well with the class.
# COMMENTS

Day one back in person

Yesterday was my first day of in person teaching since early March 2020. It was,… interesting. I was looking forward to actually seeing my students in person but as I mentioned in my last post, i wasn't comfortable given Hunter's current COVID policy and Delta. I'll be happier come mid October when 100% of students on campus will be vaccinated but at least for now, mask compliance is high.
# COMMENTS

\(2^5\) Years Teaching

I was looking over my TRS statement the other day - that's Teacher's Retirement System and noticed that next week I'll be starting my 32nd year teaching. That's \(2^5\) or 10000 - 5 bits so I guess you can't call me a two bit teacher. Two and a half years at Seward, over 20 at Stuy, and the rest at Hunter College. I've had a lot of last days before school starts but this year is different.
# COMMENTS

Why it takes so long to become a better teacher

I've written about how long it takes to become a master teacher and that even after 9 or 10 years most teachers are really just advanced beginners. A big reason for that is our long feedback loop. You do something and you can't do it again for a year. I was listening to a podcast on my morning run by the Hudson River and something came up about differences between quantities of items.
# COMMENTS

Hunter College CS Teacher Certification Summer 2021

Last Friday concluded the summer portion of Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program. It was an intense month. All day every day from June 28th through July 30. On the one hand between burnout and covid fatigue it was a tough month and I'm dealing with some much needed recovery this week. On the other hand, working with JonAlf, Topher, new team member Genady along with around 25 amazing teachers and teacher candidates made it a highlight of the year.
# COMMENTS

Designated Slacker

Our teacher certification program is in full swing. All day every day through the end of the month. We finished off the first course about a week ago and are currently covering data structures and methods - teaching methods that is. All day every day is pretty intense and doing it on Zoom doesn't help so we try to change things up. As with many Zoom based classes, we make use of breakout rooms for small group work.
# COMMENTS

No CSTA conference for me this year

Today is the start of CSTA's annual conference. Like last year, it's virtual. Unlike the past few years, this year I won't be attending. I'm a big fan of the CSTA conference. Jake and team have done an amazing job growing the conference and it's been a highlight of my year every time I've attended. I could say that I'm not attending due to my schedule - I'm pretty much spending all day every day during July teaching in my CS Teacher Certification program and at the end of the day I'm wiped.
# COMMENTS