In my previous blog post, I wrote about my success with the Coding Club at the Williamsburg Charter High School (WCHS). At the same time I launched the club and in the middle of spring semester in 2015, WCHS’s Director of Community Outreach (Director) sent me an email about turning the Coding Club into a new class with the aid of a non-for-profit, known as ScriptEd. I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring computer science to more WCHS students, so I accepted the invitation to a planning meeting. As I learned more about the organization, I knew this would be the best opportunity to bring CS to even more students at WCHS. We held several meetings and ultimately, created a ScriptEd class that would give students one elective credit—an incentive for more kids to sign up. I became the liaison who was responsible for all the administrative tasks and other logistical requirements of the class, with ScriptEd’s volunteer developers as the instructors. The first CS class of 20 students began during fall 2015. Before I elaborate on that class, however, I want to discuss my first opportunity to teach front-end website development. This opportunity came the summer before the new ScriptEd class began and gave me the confidence to teach CS.
In summer 2015, my brother and NYCDA asked me to teach their two-week summer boot camp. The curriculum was a shortened version of NYCDA’s web development 100 and front-end website development courses, which is where I learned it all. Since I knew the curriculum and had great success with it, I thought to myself, “How hard could it be to teach?” Teaching the boot camp would allow me to test my educational theory that a master teacher should be able to teach more than one subject, even if that subject is different from the one in which he or she is certified. My brother essentially threw me into a course that I had never taught before! What was he thinking? I took his confidence in me and began teaching the course with the optimism one needs to have a successful teaching experience.
I structured the boot camp using the pedagogical skills that I had learned during my master’s program at Hunter College’s School of Education. On days of lecture, the lesson plan structure consisted of: do now, lesson, guided practice, and individual or group practice. On non-lecture days, it consisted of individual and group projects. The students would leave the boot camp with a portfolio of static websites and the fundamental skills to build any website in the future.
I remember walking into the first class, only to find that the projector wasn’t working. It was the harsh reality of teaching in the 21st century; sometimes the technology that we rely upon daily just doesn’t work. I could’ve just thrown in the towel right then and there, but I didn’t want to accept defeat. Since it was a small class with six students, I had them circle around my computer and taught via my 13-inch laptop. And guess what? It turned out to be successful! It was my first CS class but wouldn’t be my last. Please continue to read my blogs to learn more about my experiences teaching CS to students in Brooklyn.