Drum Roll, Please

I have an announcement.  I was going to wait until Monday, but what the heck.  What I’ve been busy with over the last few weeks has been interviewing.  Interviewing, preparing to interview, researching, etc.  I’ve accepted a position at a nearby Independent school for girls (my own FGS, if you will) as the Computer Science Coordinator.  I’ll be teaching technology and computing for middle school and high school.  Quite frankly, I’m a little giddy about the whole thing.  I can’t remember if I mentioned it here, but I know I’ve mentioned it in comments elsewhere that K-12 was an avenue I was looking into.  I had thought, of course, that I’d end up teaching English.  And, indeed, I’d sent out many applications and inquiries looking into doing just that.  And then this job fell into my lap.  At first I thought, I can’t do this.  On paper, it looks like I can’t do this.  But then, I started thinking about it, learning more about the job and I realized that actually, I could do it and could do it well.

So many interviews later, and a practice course teaching a group of middle school girls, here I am with a new job in a field that I love.  Sure, I love reading and writing and talking about books and poetry and communication, but I think my true passion lies in technology.  And I’m especially excited about the possibility of influencing and mentoring young women to pursue computing as a career.  If I’d had someone like me teaching when I was in middle school, I might be at Google by now. 🙂  And now, I’m at EdCampPhilly, meeting all kinds of new colleagues, people I can draw on as I’m learning the ropes, so yippee!

44 Replies to “Drum Roll, Please”

  1. I spent the first 8 years of my teaching career working in a coed independent school on the Boston area. It was the hardest work I ever did as a teacher, bar none, and truly the most rewarding.

    At that time my kids were toddlers, and one of my colleagues said to me, if you had kids that are the age of the ones you are teaching here, this would be a completely different experience. A better experience. An awesome experience.

    Having lived through the middle school experience as a parent with my own children, I now TOTALLY respect the work their teachers did with them and with us, and I NOW understand that what my colleague said to me then was entirely true (although I will admit I was a bit insulted when he said it back then).

    You have the advantage here… you not only know the age group as a parent, but you will also know them as a teacher. One side will inform the other and it will make you even better…as a parent, and as an educator. ftw!

    Exciting times! Enjoy!

  2. To all the comments above, let me add, “Me too!” Thats fantastic news on taking on a challenge. My hat is off for being brave to take on teaching middle school girls, but I know you have the right stuff.

    Is this starting in the fall?

  3. Congrats! I echo everyone’s sentiments above; you will be a fine asset to the school and the students.

  4. Let me add my congratulations to the mix! This sounds like a really exciting opportunity. Plus, there have to be opportunities for reading, writing, talking about books, and poetry in teaching technology.

  5. Yay! Laura. We have a fantastic science teacher at our school, a Doc O. She’s amazing, and, I think, does provide a role model for the girls. Super Yay.

  6. That’s treat news! I followed some of the tweets from edcampphilly today. From what I read, it sounded like a great event.

  7. Congratulations! That is my dream job for a working geeky mom, I think. I hope it is a great work/life balance for you. 🙂

  8. Thanks everyone!

    And special thanks to Bob–so glad I got to meet you today. I definitely felt more comfortable about what I’m embarking on after seeing what you’re doing with your kids. I will definitely keep in touch!

  9. Congrats! This will be a great opportunity for you to change how people think about using computers, communicating, and being creative.

  10. Congratulations, that sounds like a wonderful, perfect job for you!!
    Just today I had a friend visiting who has a daughter in middle school and is currently working in special education at the same school (she has an MA in psychology). She’s looking for work with benefits right now, but she told me she would rather keep on working at the school so she can spend more time with her children (she also has a boy in high school) and her family.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re so excited about the job!

  11. Congratulations — the school’s lucky to have you.

    If you want some inspiration, check out http://www.girlsms.org/academics/computer-science which was developed by Michelle Friend Hutton.

    Be sure to check out the Computer Science Teachers Association is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.

  12. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! Laura, I’m so happy for you!

    I want to make sure that you know about Jackie Regales’s blog — http://jackieregales.com/ — she teaches English in a girls’ school that has a heavy emphasis on technology (it’s a laptop school) and has done some interesting work with technology in her English course. (Here’s an article she just wrote: http://www.independentteacher.org/vol7/7.2-1-Digital-Scaffolding.html)

    Also, I’m happy to put you in touch with the computer science instructor at my school if that would be helpful; he teaches in both the middle and upper schools.

    This is really exciting, and I send you all of my best wishes as you embark on this new adventure!

  13. Thanks, WN! I do read Jackie’s blog. How I got there I don’t know. 🙂 And I might take you up on getting in touch with your CS teacher. I’m always looking for ideas.

  14. Congrate.

    I am curious about your job title. Are coordinators expected to also teach?

    You mentioned earlier that you don’t program–write code.

    Will you be expected to teach the girls how to program?
    My sister and I both learned to program in middle school.
    That’s becoming increasingly rare in these days of
    high level APIs.

    What kind of curricula is appropriate for MS and HS students now?

  15. @Grace, yes, I am teaching. It will begin as a 50/50 position, with 50% teaching and 50% faculty development (what I did in my old job).

    @Grace & Camille, Yes, I don’t exactly program. I’ve been a just-in-time learner as far as that goes, pulling out reference books and hacking things together. But, I keep learning. I do live with a CS professor after all. Already, I’ve been through a short python course and am planning to do more, perhaps even taking a full blown course online this summer. Currently the computer courses at the middle school level are about technology tools–photoshop, etc. I’m planning to have one course that is mostly about that, but I’m hoping to change one course so that it is focused on using Scratch. The courses right now are like art courses. They meet once a week for a ten-week period, so it’s not a lot of time. Eventually, I will need to teach students how to program, but there’s no room for a programming course next year, so I’ll have time to get myself up to speed.

    I, too, learned programming first in middle school, and then didn’t return to it again until college because there were no other courses offered throughout my middle and high school. And then I went into English and creative writing so, I’ve never really been called on to use those skills very much. I certainly used them a little in my last job, just that there wasn’t enough time or freedom to develop them. There were just too many other things I needed to do. Now, I’ll really need them, and I feel like this is a really good reason to develop them, so that I can pass them on to others.

  16. Laura, this is so exciting! Let me know if you want to contact info for the tech coordinator in our Upper School–she used to be an English teacher and has now crossed over! I bet you will really love this job, and now we can geek out together about ed tech *and* teaching in fabulous girls’ schools!

  17. Laura,

    Wow, if only you had been a teacher in my middle school years, I might well have loved geeky things back then. And it would have felt safe to be smart with a role model like you around. You will be amazing–I very much look forward to listening in here on how it all goes!


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