Advice to a young teacher

Kristen studies education, but she enrolls in my software engineering class. Last week she came to my office and asked: “Next month, I will graduate and have a teaching job in a high school. I will teach computer and technology to the 10th and 11th grade. I want to motivate my students to learn more about technology, just like you have motivated us. I want to be a good teacher in high school. Do you have any advice for me?.”

I told her: “I am very glad that you have chosen a teaching career. It is a difficult job, especially in a high school where students are still young and immature. But with your efforts and dedication, you can make a difference in students’ lives. To motivate high school students, you need to show them that you like what you teach. Your enthusiasm and your caring attitude will influence the students’ learning. High school students are curious, and they like to explore many things so you should share with them your experiences in the field of information technology and why do you want to teach it. For example, you can explain how computer changes your life. You can tell them stories about how you learn computer, or how you struggle with programming languages. Young students can identify with this type of experience.”

“ Today most high school students already use technology, many have a laptop or a smartphone, so you do not need to teach them something they already know. They are familiar with social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, but they are consumers of technology, not creators of technology. They need to know how technology impacts the business, how they change the business, and how they change the world. Only knowing these things, they will learn about problems in the business and begin to think about developing innovation solutions.”

“Technology changes fast, you do not want to follow a rigid curriculum but be flexible. Students need the latest information because they read them via technical websites, via Facebook, or from their friends. You should introduce students to the advancement of technology in the industry and ask them to research about the problems in the industry then come to class and discuss. You want students to engage in the latest things that are happening in the technology world. That will motivate them to learn more because those are things that students often talk to others. You should focus on the application of technology to solve problems as you facilitate a sense of curiosity among them.”

“Today, students are active; they do not want to listen to a long lecture but want to participate, to share opinions, to engage in discussion, and you should create a dynamic classroom where students share new ideas among themselves. Sometimes you may participate in the discussion by asking students questions that even you do not know the answer and see how they can come up with the answers. You do not have to be an authority and know everything but be someone who helps them to learn as you will focus on facilitating instead of lecturing. Students always respect “honest” teachers and feel close to you. Today teaching is not one-way communication but an exchange of ideas where both teachers and students are learning together. As a teacher, you can write a problem on the blackboard and talk about the process of solving it. You may want to show them that there is more than one way to solve the problem and discuss several alternatives. By following your explanation, students get to know your problem-solving process.”

“Today students do not like to follow the textbook; they like real case studies. You need to use real examples in the industry as part of your teaching. You need to read more and follow technology trends that are happening and use these cases as part of the class discussion. Students always want to know about these things because they can talk with their friends about things that others many not know, and that will motivate them to learn more. You may bring certain topics to class and ask them to analyze it as part of class discussion. For example, you may ask “Why Amazon is not only an online retailer but also a cloud computing service provider? Why is Google not only a “search engine” but also self-driving car technology company? Or Why Steve Jobs got fired from Apple when he was the founder? Why Bill Gates and Marck Zuckerberg donated most of their fortunes to charity? Why Apple is so successful when others are not? Why are SMAC technologies considered much bigger than the Internet? Students who study technology need to understand the application of technology and what it does.”

“As the teacher, your goal is to educate students and make a difference in their lives. But knowledge is only part of it. As you educate their mind, you must also educate their spirit so they will have a strong foundation for being a total person. When they go to work in the future, they will base their actions on moral, ethics and be useful to the society and the world.  To develop a strong economy, everything must start with a proper education. As long as all teachers put their efforts to lay down a good foundation in education, the country will be strong and prosperous. The best defense for a country is a strong education, if we fail in education the country defense will fail as well. As a teacher, you are uniquely qualified to not just shaping their minds with knowledge but also their character, their personality  and the future of a country.”

Source: blog

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