K-12 Computing Education Seminar
Volunteering in a K-12 classroom is a fantastic way to learn about teaching, to share passion for a subject area and to assist teachers. Always remember that the teacher is ultimately responsible for the content and tone of the course and that you are there to support him or her. Please communicate frequently with the instructor you are supporting to make sure that your role is clear and that you are both feeling satisfied with how the experience is unfolding.
You should always follow the norms below. These represent minimum expectations and your host teacher may choose to override or modify any of them.
- Check in at the main office
- Arrive to the classroom at least 5 minutes before the start of class
- Except in cases of emergency, give 24 hours notice when you will be missing a scheduled day
- If you are leading a lesson, submit plans to the teacher at least 48 hours prior to the lesson time
- Socialize with students in the classroom before class starts; ask about their day, interests, etc
- Show students that you care about them and that you are invested in their learning
- When helping students at computers, use words, diagrams or related examples rather than touching their keyboards, mice, trackpads, etc. Consider pointing to the screen, or a specific key
- Don’t spend more than 5 mins with an individual student at once (“I’ll be back but want to check on AJ”)
- Don’t show impatience to students; walk away and come back if you have to
- When students are working on projects, walk around, ask them to explain what they’re doing, etc
- Ask questions instead of giving answers (e.g. how many arguments does your function call have? How many parameters does the function take? What is missing at the end of this line of code?)
- If a student requests to leave the classroom, direct them to the teacher
- Let the teacher take care of health issues, injuries, major discipline issues
- Always remember that just because you explained something doesn’t mean students understood it!
- Only share concerns about the class when students are out of earshot
- Offer to take on specific tasks that interest you (e.g. writing an exam, giving a particular lesson, working with a student after class)
- Respect the teacher’s needs and time by only taking on projects they want your help with
- If you are not feeling useful, talk to the teacher about it and see what else you could take on
- If you don’t like a particular situation or task, do tell the teacher. Offer to keep doing it if it is helpful and you are capable of doing so but let him or her know it is not the best fit