Each month, highlighting a member of the CS for All Teachers community
Name: Donald Saint-Germain
Workplace: Wings Academy High School
Years in education: 6
Years teaching computer science: 2
TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENCE (CS)
What interests you about computer science?
I was interested in learning about CS opportunities I wish were available to me when I was in high school. My passion to provide my students with CS opportunities so that they can be better prepared for the world they are living in motivated me to participate and become a CS teacher. Incorporating technology into the classroom to improve student’s learning opportunities is a vital aspect in preparing our students to be participants in the 21st century.
How did you start teaching computer science? Do you have a background in CS?
I do not have background in CS. There were several professional development (PD) opportunities made available to teach CS, and because of my interest to learn about this topic, I enrolled in several PDs (and continue to do so) to better understand CS and how it influences the world.
How have your computer science students inspired you? What is your favorite CS project you have completed with them?
My computer science students have inspired me to reflect on my own abilities to teach content in various modalities for different students. My students have inspired me to rethink my approach in order to better support them as they develop their understanding of CS in, and outside, of my classroom.
How do you recruit students into your CS classes?
To recruit students for my CS classes, I have created posters and visited classrooms to inform students of the possibilities available via participation in a CS course. One of the most important things I have done is meet with my administration to stress the importance of offering CS education. This directly led to a formal incorporation of my CS classes into the daily class schedule.
CS EDUCATION COMMUNITY
How do you get other teachers, administrators, and community members excited about computer science?
I always invite teachers, administrators, and community members to the various CS events that I host and when I spotlight successful student work. Keeping them in the loop has been key to getting them excited about computer science.
What excites you most about the current state of CS education in the US?
What excites me the most are all the opportunities that are now available for my students. From field trips, hack-a-thons, competitions, scholarships, internships, etc., there is a plethora of opportunities available that demonstrate all CS education has to offer.
What do you enjoy most about participating in CS for All Teachers?
I enjoy interacting and learning from other teachers. Teachers learn the best from other teachers, so it is great to have a platform like CS for All Teachers that allows us to share and learn from one another through our unique experiences teaching CS.
Besides the CS for All Teachers community of practice, what is your favorite CS tool or resource?
I enjoy social media groups, such as Facebook closed groups, related to specific courses or content areas.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to potential CS educators?
Do not be afraid to fail. We encourage our students everyday to take risks in their education and, as educators, we must be willing to do the same for our students.
TELL US MORE!
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
By far, it has been being highlighted with my students in a promotional video encouraging schools to offer AP CSP.