My first semester as a middle school teacher - and how it went....
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
I survived. And I thrived. And I learned a lot.
There's a lot more to the story. We've been planning on educating for quite some time and this was our first official teaching role. Here are three main takeaways.
1) I like teaching. I've always thought I might. I wondered if I would. Now I know -- it's something I really enjoy. Preparing for class, teaching the material in a way that is comprehensible and seeing results fuels me. I love to make an impact and I enjoy interaction. Teaching middle school kids, surprisingly, was far more fun than anticipated. I did my homework though -- first, I had two kids of my own so that helped. It made me remember that I'm not as cool as I think I am and certainly not as funny as I think. But it made me relatable. I could talk about TikTok, T-Series and Outer Banks and it immediately gave me street cred. And I was about to teach teenagers technology so I was going to need it. 12 weeks later, it's a day of the week I look forward to.
2) The kids liked learning. Well, at first it was A LOT. I started talking about motherboards, and RAM and hard drives and serial ports. The basics. And their eyes were glossing over. Fortunately, our creative minds at PCA came up with a game that made it fun and competitive. And it set the tone for an adventure that we'd all enjoy. I remember coming back the second week and doing our "quiz" on what we learned in week one. And I was blown away at what they had retained! They struggled with things like a floppy disk, dot matrix printer and a few other things they had "only seen at grandpa's" but they got the basics. I was so excited and it got me on fire for teaching as we walked through all of the basics of computers, networking, cybersecurity and the granddaddy of the all -- hacking and red-teaming. After all, kids like the concept of cool and what's cooler than the concept of hacking? If you love technology like I do, then the answer is "nothing".
3) Our world needs this. I stressed to everyone in the class -- particularly the girls that wondered at first why they were learning technology -- that anyone can work in technology. Several of our teammates don't love technology but they fill a critical role. We need people that understand marketing, sales processes, procurement, financials, people leaders, etc. We all can acknowledge that technology isn't ever going away -- COVID-19 intensified the importance of how we use technology. So for everyone coming out of high school to have a general understanding of how technology works is important. They don't need to know megabytes and megabits but they do need to know phishing and the concept that #TheThreatsAreReal. We all do. If our next generation comes out armed with that knowledge, then our world will thank us.
This is a priority for PCA. And a priority for me. Will I teach again? You bet - I can't wait!
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