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I am a secondary/high school teacher and programmer, Ask Me Anything!

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OK so I teach Computer Science full time in a Secondary/High school. And have my own software company for which I write/maintain the programs. I teach 11-18 years the theory of programming and how to write programs in Python.

I teach anywhere between 75 to 150 teenagers (boys and girls) a day, 5 days a week. Today is the last day of my summer holiday :-(

AMA

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What is the program like at your school? Is it a one semester elective or a full track for students to pursue?

My friend @louisf was trying to get CS into the classroom but I think they've since de-prioritized the program.

 

Hey Jess thanks for the question. In my school, we teach it as part of the curriculum from age 11 to 13. Then they choose their GCSE subjects which they study for year further years with final exams when they are 16. Not all students like it but we used to have 25 in age group after age 13. Now it's doubled to 50! I'm England btw.

 

What motivates you to take on this profession as opposed to other paths in software development/computer science?

 

Hey Ben thanks for asking the question, so having worked in industry as a programmer for a few years I realised it wasn't really for me. In the back of my mind I always wanted to teach.
There were and still are plenty of motivating factors one of the important ones would be making a difference in young peoples' lives. It was a sincere intention, now I get to pass on my passion for Computer Science to them.

Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions/comments.

 
 

Hey Andy, great question! Well the summer just finishing I've spent refactoring code for an entire system I built few years back, spent time with the family, went away to different places and best of all slept late and woke up late (sometimes)! It went too quick, back to work on Monday :-)

 

How do you manage your time with teaching and handling your own company? What suggestions would you give to one's who are struggling with work life balance?

 

Hey Shahid, thanks for the question. It is a hard one! And I am not going to pretend to know the answer but here's somethings I do to ensure I am happy and hope it'll help you somehow, and if you have follow up questions I am happy to answer/support even if you want to private message me.

In the forefront of my mind is that I am working to live so it's pointless if I work and do not live. With that in mind I ensure that:

I don't let work stress me out, I take it easy! I learnt to control my emotions I take a minutes break if it's overwhelming.

I am in control of my life, work comes second but with high priority. I ensure that I meet all deadlines but will not let it eat into my personal time if I am running behind. I let clients know days in advance (and occassionally day before) if I will not be able to meet deadlines. They can get angry/upset and sometimes justifiably, but I won't let that hinder my well-being.

I hope some of that makes sense, I took me a few years to get my head around it. It requires patience, perseverance and resilience.

I know that a lot of things aren't in my control anyway so I don't stress about those things.

I ensure that I at least go out and treat myself with good food at least once every two weeks or more times if need be, we work to eat right? So why not eat good!

I look after myself first because I know I need to be fit, healty and happy in order for me to deliver.

I'm sorry I know this isn't anything near as you'd like or even answers your question, it's hard to put things like this on paper/text. Hope it helps somewhat! God bless!

 

Thank you so much for your response. I can surely use some help from you as I am just starting out in the tech industry (it's 2 years already, I still feel a newbie). I am not sure how to private message you on this platform. If there isn't an option, can you email me on "shahid.sk27595@gmail.com"?

"I don't let work stress me out, I take it easy! I learnt to control my emotions I take a minutes break if it's overwhelming." -- Probably one thing which I need to learn immediately.

Again, thank you for your words.

 

What sorts of programs have you written? How about your students - anyone create anything particularly cool?

 

Hey Michael, I've written mainly web applications nothing too fancy usually messing around with relational databases. The students create programs based on the curriculum, it is hard for them get their head around finding a solution to a problem to solve with a program as it is not reality for them. Having said that by the time they complete the course some become extremely geeky and can write/extend programs. There have been a few projects, one of which seeks to solve the car parking problem in car parks (parking lot) by designating parking bays to drivers at the entrance. Another created a program to team up students with study buddies by use of AI to analyse studying habits.

Classic DEV Post from Jun 5 '19

Are we "developers" gatekeeping "knowledge" from our juniors and peers? 🤦

The subconscious role we "senior developers" play, in preventing the spread of knowledge without us realizing. And stifling the growth of all around us.

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I get around putting code together from different parts of the web :-)