It is interesting the things that get put on the shoulders of the CS teacher. Our elementary (1-8) tech teacher has to teach typing, Office, audio and visual software, very basic “how to run the computer” to 1st graders, a little Scratch programming in the 7th and 8th grades, along with anything else that is trendy or a classroom teacher needs. All of this with very little background or education in the field. Luckily she is young, very smart and enjoys the variety. Oh, she also does some tech work for the building. She ends up with all these chores because the classroom teachers are totally unprepared educationally to teach these topics. The older the staff, the less likely they are able to teach “computer stuff”. In his latest blog, Alfred Thompson says “we need more computer science teachers who know what they are doing”. This is the absolute truth but schools also need classroom teachers that are academically prepared to teach the minimally required “computer stuff” so computer science teachers can teach computer science. The nine month contract with summers off needs to become a 10 month contract with a month of professional development and continuing education. Education is evolving too fast for the present static post-employment teacher education system that is the American standard. Leaving it up to the teacher to further their own education really is not a practical system. Many teachers cannot afford to pay for further education, many work during the summer to make ends meet, and many really do not want to learn something new. Of course there would be some minor details to overcome; unions, budgets, and government bureaucracy come to mind.
CS and Teacher Education