Posted: Tue, 08/31/2021 - 12:50 pm EDT
Each month, we highlight a member of the CS for All Teachers community. This month, we decided to do something a little different. As we move towards the 2021-22 year, we'd like to take a moment to pause, look back, and honor the 2020-21 Community Ambassador Cohort!
There were truly some inspiring leaders in this group, and we are grateful for the unique sparks each individual brought to the CS for All Teachers community.
Check out our Ambassadors' best advice for potential CS educators below. To learn more click on each individual's name for their full spotlight.
Just try it!
Tap into what excites you the most about CS and let that be your guide. If you focus on your own interests and strengths, you will naturally engage your students. I would also add to grow and rely on your network of fellow CS teachers, you are never alone!
Conversations about equity and inclusion are deeply personal. This work starts with ourselves and focusing on our own personal, local, and immediate locus of control and influence.
My advice would be to say that it's okay not to have any experience teaching CS. There are so many resources out there that are ready to use in the classroom. Have an open mind, a growth mindset, and learn together with your students.
Be willing to be wrong in front of your students. Be willing to model what it looks like to fail - to make mistakes, actively debug code, grow. Normalize saying "You know, I don't know the answer to that - let's figure it out together!" The tenacity we build in our students doesn't just help those who will go on to pursue a career in CS; it helps every kid become more tenacious in their own passions, interests, and pursuits.
Come to this specialized profession with an open mindset. The mindset of the learner must constantly change to equip the teacher and the students in meeting the needs of all students.
The CS content is important, but your most important work isn't about CS at all. It's about building relationships with students and crafting a 90-minute experience that works for them. Take time to be reflective, learn from others, and get better every day.
CS is not just another thing! In fact, CS is woven into every subject in a way that it can be naturally a apart of what you're already teaching. It's important to note that not all students will go on to become computer scientists, but students that have exposure to high quality CS instruction have the chance to develop the logic, and critical thinking skills to access and succeed in the jobs of the future.
Don't wait until you are totally confident with CS to begin teaching it. Your students will learn so much from you modeling how to learn. Be a "guide on the side" not a "sage on the stage."
Two brains are better than one. Find a teacher to collaborate with to make the learning more fun, creative, insightful, and meaningful....Allow your students to be the co-teachers in your centers. Let them lead and showcase their CS learning!
For teachers just getting started with CS or learning how to integrate it into core curriculum, I would like to share that failure is just a starting point and an integral part of learning. It can be hard to learn something new while keeping up with all the other requirements. Just like we encourage our students to try again and keep working towards their goals, it is important for teachers to keep that in mind as well when learning something new.
Look for professional development opportunities to stay informed about what is coming to computer science.
We've heard from the cohort. Now it's your turn. What's YOUR advice? Log in to comment and share your top tips for potential CS educators!