So, tomorrow, October 19, is my birthday. The big 5 4. Okay, maybe it's not a traditionally big one. It doesn't end in a zero or a five but I think it rates.
Why? Because it's one shy of 55.
That's the magic age when I can retire collect my pension should I choose to do so. It's what you get when start young and put in over 30 years of service.
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.
I don't usually talk politics on this blog but it is the news of the day. We truly are at a turning point in this country and we should all be concerned with the road we take.
Yesterday the media outlets called the election for Biden/Harris. It's not over but I thought this would be as good a time as any to share some thoughts and more importantly concerns.
In the 10 plus years of this blog I've never done a post on my birthday. Okay, maybe I've written one on my birthday but never talked about it.
Why this year?
No particular reason. Maybe because I'm getting older. I'm 53 today. Devorah will turn 54 in a month - from there one year until she can retire. I can follow a year later. I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing but it's nice to know that in two years I'll have a lot of options on the table.
It's been a long year since March. Many of us have not really been able to leave NYC for a variety of reasons - financial, professional, or family to name a few.
Other than a couple of small escapes in the last two weeks we've been home and working from home in our Manhattan apartment since this all started. Early on we didn't get out much and we still aren't and that does take its toll.
I've been reading a lot of takes on NYC schools reopening. We've had daily conversations about it with our summer teachers but conversations abound on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else.
Many salient points have been raised - given the DOE's track record, can they make things safe and will they? Can they be trusted? Given that any policy needs all players to follow the rules - students, teachers, and staff how can that ever happen?
Just a quick public service announcemnt.
Up until now CSTA-NYC has been using Meetup to organize and advertise events but now they're moving over to using the CSTA site as their platform. If you're a CS teacher you should be a part of CSTA. There's both a free tier and a plus tier which costs $50 a year. I've been a plus member since that level became available.
Austin Cory Bart put together a great post about supporting Black students in CS1. Cory asked about this on the SIGCSE mailing list and in his post he both breaks things down and shares all the resources that he compiled from the ensuing discussion. There's a lot of good stuff both in the post and in the links but there's a lot to get lost in. As teachers we can sometimes affect change at a department or school level but we can always make a difference in our classes and with our students.
Teachers and Police It's been an ugly few days but perhaps in some ways a hopeful few as people have been making their voices heard like never before in my lifetime. We've seen and endless stream of videos of peaceful protest and far too many instances of police officers overstepping their bounds. I keep hearing about violent protesters but those videos seem to be avoiding my feeds as are the videos of law enforcement going after the looters who are a separate group from the protestors.
I've got some CS Ed stuff I want to write but can't bring myself to writing about it today. I rarely post outside of my wheelhouse - CS, Education and the intersection of the two.
I don't really think I'm qualified to say much about the current crisis. The out of control police, racism, class warfare, a failed government not only at the federal level but also in New York city and state but maybe I can share something worthwhile from my narrow experiences.