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C'est la Z

Category: teaching

Some Professional Development Is Worthwhile

No, I'm not walking back anything from my last post. I still think we have to stop using professional development as the primary means for preparing CS teachers but I wanted to take a minute to make it clear that while there's plenty of lousy PD out there, there's also plenty of good stuff. For bad PD, it's frequently mandated and frequently neither useful or relevant or even if its potentially relevant, but the time it becomes useful you don't remember it.
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Don't give away the punchline

Commenting on my post on teaching some Software Engineering concepts, there was a comment on code review and that code.org now included it in their CS-A curriculum. I found this video but no other materials. I was thinking that I certainly hoped that the video was not being used to introduce code review to students. I mean the video is fine and probably great to show to teachers so that they'll have some idea on what code review is and why it's important.
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Good class day today

I've been in something of a teaching funk for much of the semester. Don't get me wrong, I think things are going pretty well with the classes but I don't feel like I've had my "A game." Part of it, I think is because of the relaxed mask policy. Hunter is masks optional and in their infinite wisdom, last year replaced the signs that said "Masks required" with signs that say "Masks NOT required.
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CoTeaching - learning from colleagues

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.
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Yes, deadlines do matter

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.
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When is remote better

With my first classes of the semester coming up on Monday I thought I'd write a bit about what worked better remote than in person. When I say better I mean specifically, worked better for me given my situation. I think they worked better for the class but I can't say with any certainty given the length of the educational feedback loop and other factors. My in person teaching situation is as follows.
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Turning a good class into a bad lecture

I've been teaching in person for about a month now so I thought I'd give a quick update on how it's going. I've written before about my feelings on how Hunter started the semester (TL;DR - I was very displeased) but that's not the point of this post. As of today, I believe every student has been required to be stabbed at least once and on October 11, all students must be fully vaccinated to be on campus.
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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.
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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.
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\(2^5\) 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.
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