03 February 2022
Why to become a Computer Science teacher?
Why to become a Computer Science teacher? This is a question that many STEM undergraduates ask themselves. The vast majority decide to work in industry because of various reasons, such as salary or status. This results in a shortage of specialists in our classrooms.
Needless to say, being a teacher is a job that implies a lot of responsibility, dedication and true vocation. It is in my view one of the most important jobs in society, however, it is currently under-valued, and that is the big issue. Just think for a minute, being a teacher is preparing another human being for their future so they obtain the necessary foundations to develop as a person of integrity, with values and essential principles for a life in society as well as work of course.
From the outset of the teacher training program, I saw clearly that being a teacher is a great challenge. Even though I was very passionate about the subject, it never crossed my mind that it would be so demanding physically and mentally. There were days during this period of my life that I would get home and fall asleep on the sofa straight away. I would dream that I was teaching year 9a4, needless to say a very lively group, and on waking up, I had to go to school and teach them for real. Moreover, the marking in books would take me 2-3 hours every day after lessons on top of pupils’ reports, parents’ evenings, etc. I won’t lie to you, I thought about quitting almost daily. The only thing keeping me going every morning was my passion for the subject I love, and my innate drive to never give up my dream of making a difference for kids in deprived areas... some kind of personal quest for social justice on my part.
For some time I hid the fact that I was struggling emotionally and physically, but eventually I opened up to my head of department. I felt ashamed and a sense of failure to be honest. However, my mentor was extremely supportive and she told me that feeling that way is normal at the start. A meeting was organised that same day and she gave me advice on how to reduce time for marking, produce lessons where pupils were more active and the teacher more like a facilitator, etc. An action plan was set up for class 9a4 so as to co-deliver the group and minimise low level disruption. That brilliant support was the catalyst that changed everything for the better. I felt less frustrated due to the fact that my lessons were more productive, and I did not end up exhausted at the end of day… I got ‘my evenings’ back and I enjoyed very much my time in school in and outside lessons. It was very rewarding to see students improving and loving my subject!
My mentor started to direct me to pedagogical courses. These were a real eye opener: coding Bootcamps , GCSE to A-Level transition , advanced programming clinics, etc. These allowed me to develop an extensive toolkit to teach confidently up to A-Level. I have carried on doing these since as they keep me motivated.
In conclusion, just to say that even though at the start it is a bit of a struggle, it becomes easier over time. Never be afraid to ask for help as that is a sign of strength. I can assure you that being a computing teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs because of the reasons below:
- You instil the passion for computing to young people. You will have fun while working!
- You change pupils’ lives by providing them with skills for the future
- You never get bored as you have innumerable free opportunities to learn
- You help with social mobility
- You will be part of a diverse, supportive community transforming education
- You will have job security and career progression
Links to training and resources:
- NCCE training: https:puting.org//teachcom
- Computing At Schools: https://www.computingatschool.org.uk
- Isaac Computer Science: https://isaaccomputerscience.org
By Javier De-Las-Heras
CAS Community Leader for Wolverhampton & NCCE Subject Matter Expert