Yesterday was the last day of classes for our current cohort. The rest of the week and maybe weekend will be all grading all the time and then I'll try to tune out work for a couple of weeks to try to recharge the batteries. Since there are some ongoing Hunter administrative snafus I'm not all that optimistic on getting real down time but we'll see.
So, how did it go?
A few weeks ago I wrote on how you can't workshop a lesson. Besides the slow feedback loop, teachers largely work alone. Between classes, teachers might have a small bit of time to collaborate and bounce around ideas but with a HS teacher typically having 5 classes a day + professional assignment there's not a lot of time.
CS teachers typically have it worse as they might be the only CS teacher in their building.
I was in the middle of writing a post on how early and often we should be teaching CS in our schools but had to jump in with a quick hit here.
As any reader here knows, Hunter was the first institution with state approved CS Teacher Education Masters and Certificate programs. Siena had the first Bachelors program (Hunter doesn't have undergraduate education programs that lead to state certification).
I've dedicated my entire career - something like 32 years, to CS education and the spread of CS education. So, while I try to be a cheerleader I also think it's important to call out things that we do or say that are maybe not so great.
So, I hope I don't annoy too many people (or maybe I hope I do) with this post and maybe a few more to come.
Yesterday was the last day on our first course for teacher certification. A programming course similar to a college CS1 - think APCS-A. We're now moving to a data structures course.
There are a few reasons for this. First, it's depth of knowledge. The most advanced class a high school student will normally take would be APCS-A. Data structures is the next course. A teacher should have studied a topic to a greater depth than the students.
Tomorrow we'll kick off cohort 3 of Hunter's Computer Science teacher Advanced Certificate program. That is, New York State's only currently approved program for working, certified teachers that leads to New York's new Certificate to teach Computer Science.
This is not our first rodeo, having gone through this twice already but there are a few differences this time out.
First off, we're going big. Cohorts one and two had about 20 candidates each.
The other day, Natan scored tickets for us to see an interview with High Jackman and Sutton Foster. We'll be seeing them in "The Music Man" come this fall.
It was fun but it was the taping for a radio interview so nothing earth shattering or surprising. Still, one thing stuck with me and got me thinking.
Jackman told a story about how, during rehearsals, he wandered down from his dressing room to find Foster was working with Jerry Zaks, the director on "My White Knight.
Nope, not 40 years old, I'm closer to pushing 55. I'm talking about the number of New York's certified computer science teacher.
Two years ago, there weren't any. Last year we got 21 and now, with the semester wrapping up we'll get another 23. That's 44 state certified computer science teachers in a hurry and what's more, 44 teachers that I can comfortably say really know their stuff both in terms of CS content and how to teach it.
Just finished entering grades closing out my 32nd year teaching.
It's been a hard year for me and I'm sure even harder for the K12 teachers out there. Still this year I'm really missing what I was oh so many years ago - a regular teacher.
Teaching from September through June is a beast and from my first day on the job I had to work ten times harder than I ever had to as a software engineer and was commensurately exhausted.
I've been seeing a few threads lately talking about the virtues of allowing students to hand in assignments late. Not just late but pretty much whenever they want. This attitude seems to be related with things like mastery or specification grading, which I believe in but it's not the same thing.
The threads start with someone saying that assignments shouldn't have deadlines or some variant and the thread proceeds with a bunch of people chiming in as to why a teacher who actually enforces deadlines is an inhuman monster.