Getting ready to teach introductory programming to 30 high schoolers, most of which aren’t actually interested in programming. And oh yeah, they only have four classes, and each class is only two hours long, and I have to teach them Java.
IHMC has a summer program called techConnect for local high school kids to get some volunteer credit over the summer while also getting in to some “science-y” stuff. A lot of the kids are bio or chem oriented, so couldn’t give two shits about programming. They just want their volunteer credits so they can get Bright Futures and other scholarships. Additionally, more than half of them have absolutely no experience programming whatsoever.
Four classes, 2 hours. Factoring in breaks, that’s like, two weeks of a three-day-a-week freshman university class. Which is barely enough time to teach a college student anything meaningful, let alone a high school student with no experience.
But, I taught one or two of the Java classes last year (which was a disaster because it was 1 hour classes, only 5 kids, and nobody wanted to be there). This year I agreed to teach the whole thing with another intern helping out as long as they gave me more time.
The kids are a lot more interested this year. And having more time each class is nice. But it’s still not a lot of time. I’m leveraging Greenfoot and some of my API design skills to have the kids recreate World 1-1 of the original Super Mario Bros. on NES with minimal effort. Make them feel like they did something, without going super-crazy in to detail. As long as they get a feel for OO programming and a little zest for science, then I’ve done my job.
Oh yeah. There’s these two catty girls that sit in the back. Who absolutely do not want to be there. It took everything in my power to not call them out (and if you know me in person, you know it was hard for me to not say anything). But I felt really bad because there are actually a few other girls in the class who are truly, genuinely interested in what I’m teaching and every time they try to engage and participate, those two fucking Heathers make them feel like crap. Thankfully, one of my friends at the lab and the woman in charge of coordinating techConnect noticed as well and might “remove” those two from the programming sessions.
I’m done venting now. Anyway. I’ll either post the Java source and/or Greenfoot Scenario at the end of the summer.