Posted: Mon, 07/23/2018 - 12:15
Each month, we highlight a member of the CS for All Teachers community.
Name: Pamela Amaya
Occupation: Math and computer science teacher
Workplace: Helen Bernstein High School in Los Angeles, CA
Years in education: 11
Years teaching computer science: 5
TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE (CS)
What interests you about CS?
CS encompasses more that just technology. It involves problem solving and critical thinking, which are important skills in everyday life. CS involves innovation and creation, using one's own creativity to solve real-world problems. CS concepts can be applied in every discipline and will be in almost every profession in the future. I believe that every student should take at least one CS course and am committed to facilitating their understanding of these important concepts.
How did you start teaching CS? Do you have a background in CS?
I have always been interested in technology. When an opportunity came up in my district for math teachers to teach CS, I jumped at the chance. I started to learn how to code and have used it in my algebra course as well. I have added more courses to our school curriculum, such as AP Computer Science Principles (CSP), Exploring Computer Science (ECS), and Generative Design. Last year, I received my career and technical education credential.
How have your CS students inspired you? What is your favorite CS project you have completed with them?
Watching students engaged in something they are creating is not only my reward, but also my inspiration to continue bringing new and innovative ideas into the classroom.
How do you recruit students into your CS classes?
Recruitment for CS is primarily done through word of mouth. I explain to all my students the importance of the course and how it will help them in their future careers. They spread the word.
CS EDUCATION COMMUNITY
How do you get other teachers, administrators, and community members excited about CS?
The teacher community in my district is fully aware of the importance of CS. I feel lucky to work in a district that provides support and the necessary resources for all students.
What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?
There are so many exciting things going on in computer science, and CS for All Teachers is a great resource for all teachers—especially for those at the beginning of the process. When I started, it was difficult to find the help and support I so desperately needed. Now, teachers have a place where they can find resources and answers to questions, as well as share ideas, problems, and solutions.
Besides the CS for All Teachers community of practice, what is your favorite CS tool or resource?
Other than CS professional development trainings, CS for All is my favorite tool.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to potential CS educators?
Research and attend professional development. Not only do you get training in the latest courses and curriculum, but you are able to network with current CS teachers. They can be a great source of support and provide ideas for advancing your teaching practices.
TELL US MORE!
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Every time one of my students graduates, knowing that I was a small part of that student's journey to success is my proudest professional accomplishment.
What do you do to recharge after a long day (or week, month, year, etc.) of teaching?
Binge-watch my favorite TV shows.