Blog Post

Community Spotlight: Tina Boyle Whyte

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Each month, we highlight a member of the CS for All Teachers community.

Tina Boyle Whyte

Tina Boyle Whyte

 

Name: Tina Boyle Whyte

Occupation: High School Business Information Technology Teacher

Workplace: West Allis West Milwaukee School District (West Allis, WI)

Years in education: 22

Years teaching computer science: 4

 

TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE (CS)

What interests you about CS?

I have been teaching CS since 2015. It has been a very exciting learning experience to help students acquire 21st century skills through project-based/inquiry learning activities. I really like the opportunity to help students develop their critical thinking skills. It has been amazing!

How did you start teaching CS? Do you have a background in CS?

I started as a middle school teacher. When I became a high school business teacher, I had the opportunity to teach students coding through HTML. It was not until 2015 that I had the opportunity to teach Information Technology courses again. Since 2015, I have been teaching students Video Game Design, Website Design, Computer Graphics and Design, Exploring Computer Science (ECS), and AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP). Essentially, I didn't have in-depth background experience, but I responded to a need for more teachers to serve our students and expose them to computer science.

What is your favorite CS project you have completed with your students?

I have had small classes of students. The curriculum that I use to teach my courses are ECS and Code.org. I love both curricula.

How do you recruit students into your CS classes?

Students often walk pass my class and ask, "What do you teach, Mrs. Boyle Whyte?" I get the opportunity to share with them. I have worked within many areas of my school. When I started in West Allis, I immersed myself in everything from clubs, lunch duty, and after-school tutoring to taking tickets at sports events. Students  see and know me, which makes it easy to connect. Once a student starts a class with me, I generally have them through completion of all my courses.

 

CS EDUCATION COMMUNITY

How do you get other teachers, administrators, and community members excited about CS?

I had the opportunity to develop different events for our school district. I invited several speakers with a CS background to come to our school for career talks. I created academic lessons for students to view in their homerooms. I am currently planning a family night at the elementary schools in our district. My students in AP CSP will volunteer to help families actively participate in Family Code Night this spring.

What excites you most about the current state of CS education in the US?

I am excited because CS education is on the move. I am actively working with partners to assist in its growth in Wisconsin. I currently partner with Marquette University and Code.org to provide professional development for cohorts of teachers to learn how to teach CS in their classrooms. We provide opportunities for teachers to be trained in a week-long summer program through Code.org and ECS, as well as participate in four workshops throughout the year. In addition, we provide a strong learning community for our teachers because we realize that most are often in stand-alone positions as CS teachers in their districts. We also build community through 10 virtual meetings spanning the academic year.

What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?

I have enjoyed being a part of the CS for All Teachers community. I have participated in activities that help me learn more and grow. I have conducted mini research projects. I have learned through TALECS, a related program that has helped me become stronger in my practice.

Besides the CS for All Teachers community of practice, what is your favorite CS tool or resource?

I have a variety of tools that I use for CS. I use curricula from Code.org, BJC, Codeacademy, and CSunplugged.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to potential CS educators?

CS education is great for all students, not just for certain students. You can do it. Keep an open mind. You don't have to be the SAGE ON THE STAGE. Be a student - more specifically, be a facilitator. Finally, know that you don't always have to have the answer. Students will get over that when you say, "I don't know. You tell me."

 

TELL US MORE!

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I earned Teacher of the Year 2017.

Write a poem or haiku describing what teaching CS is like.

Teaching CS is like opening the window to a world of the unknown. It is like the potter molding clay.

Teaching CS allows us as teachers to look at the brain of a student and watch it churn for answers that you know are hidden beneath. It is like a major celebration when the brain persists and reaches the answer. It is like giving life to something that was once dead. It is like putting wood on the fire and watching it grow and grow and grow. Teaching CS has been an opening to a whole new world and a new point of view (Disney song). Teaching CS excites me.

What do you do to recharge after a long day (or week, month, year, etc.) of teaching?

I am unique. I love learning. In that, I am forever a student. I just need time to keep learning everything I want to know about computer science education.