April Frankhouser Lewis
Computer Science Teacher at Northern Middle School, Garrett County, MD
How did you end up teaching CS?
My teaching career started as a math resource teacher in a very small rural school in Garrett County, MD. I had the pleasure of teaching mathematics to the same students for 3 years in a row. Within a few years, I was offered an opportunity to continue to teach math, but also be a technology resource teacher for my school. I not only had a love for mathematics, but also loved technology. I enjoyed problem solving and was not afraid to take a “risk.” After 18 years of teaching at this school, the math resource teacher/technology resource teaching position was no longer going to be available. As they say, “One door closes and another one opens.” I was then able to transfer to my current school, Northern Middle School, as a 7th grade math teacher. I was excited for this new opportunity; however after being in this position for three years, there were changes made within the school and I started teaching the computer classes.
What have been some challenges?
When I started teaching computer class, I taught Microsoft Office and typing skills. I am now teaching computer science concepts and skills. I educate students on how to identify problems, make a plan, write algorithms, and then test their algorithms. Technology is forever changing; therefore, I am constantly searching for new ways to capture the interest of my students while teaching computer science at the same time. Time to research and incorporate new ideas as well as staying up-to-date with technology has been very challenging.
What do you enjoy about your work?
I enjoy teaching students to code. Students enjoy the fun and exciting coding puzzles with code.org. Scratch.mit.edu is fabulous. Scratch.mit.edu provides endless learning opportunities. Last year, I piloted Amazon Future Engineering CS1 and I am very impressed! I am now using this program as my computer science curriculum for my 6th and 7th graders.
My classes consist of a variety of learning levels and I often see students who struggle with their regular content classes and will excel in my classroom. I must say that this is what I enjoy most! I thoroughly enjoy all students being able to learn computer science!