• Tag Archives Teaching
  • The Day Cthulhu ripped off the Roof of my House

    There is a proverb, possibly American in origin (I never came across it in the UK anyway) and I first heard it on an early season of The Simpsons: „God does not close a door without opening a window.“
    This proverb needs some adaption in the case of my situation but is still applicable. The adaption goes something like this:
    Hastur does not close door without Cthulhu taking off the roof.
    Let me elaborate:
    If you follow my bog, you should be aware I recently changed carrers. I have gone bak into teaching after working online for the past 10 years.
    Getting there was a bit of a struggle (teaching in Germany has a lot of bureucratic hurdles). For a while it even looked like that, although I had all the qualifications, I would not be able to start because the combination of my qualifications only made me eligible for a probationary teaching position wich was out of the question because the pay would have been about a third of what was getting at my last online job and thus by far not enough to support a family.

    And then Cthulhu came and ripped the roof off.

    I saw an ad for a teaching position online on a dedicated website and applied. Two days later (and about four weeks before the date the official interviews would begin, according to the ad), I got an email inquiering if I could com in for an interview straight away. That was odd, but a happy surprize. I happened to have a few days off at the time so I could come in, of course.
    The interview went very well and the headmaster of this school was apparently so impressed with me (for whatever reason) that he made a few phone calls, pulled a few strings and managed to get a special permit for me, so I could start in a better position straight away.
    So, for the past three weeks (coming up four) I have been working as a teacher again. Although two of my classes are rather tough, I have not been so happy at work ever since my days working in an assistant data research position at university (that was in 2005, go figure).

    Also: The teaching experience now is vastly different from what I experienced in Bavaria. The teachers are more friiendly by several magnitudes, they are more supportive and the kids are great as well.

    So far, things are starting to look brighter and during the summer holidys I will have some real time to do some serious writing. A win all around.

    Praise be to Cthulhu!

  • Spreading coding skills among the younglings (a plan in the making) #python

    Coding skills, even basic ones, are essential in this day and age. Alas, schools around here have not really caught on to this and IT lessons are not even mandatory in many schools around here. As far as I have been able to find out, the IT curriculum of the type of school where I will be teaching, consists entirely of getting pupils to use the MS Office suite correctly. This of course does not include any coding skills, only the formulas and macros in Excel, and I am not even sure if macros are part of the curriculum.

    So, I have decided to offer extra lessons in coding, if time and facilities at the school I will be teaching at, allows.

    Specifically, I will offer Python, because it is an easy language to learn, can be used for scripting and OOP and because you can have something interactive with just a few lines of code (it is theree in this example, but two would suffice to see results):


    print "This is a test program for console input."
    the_input = raw_input("Please give some input here: ")
    print the_input

    And seeing results quickly is essential for catching the puils‘ attention.

    I have enough material and knowledge to go into at least some depth of Python and let the pupils tackle a number of smaller projects which can be extended and built upon. I am thinking of things like a calculator, a Battleship type game and similar things, nothing too involved since time will most likely not allow for more. It is also likely that some pupils who are interested in learning to code will leave the course again once I tell them that they will not be learning any hacking skills at all.

    I guess I should also warn them not to attempt any hacking and/or go to websites where software for dubious purposes is peddled unless they can run a dual-boot or pure Linux computer with Kali Linux running on a virtual machine within the actual Linux OS (and not even think of hacking if they have no clue what I am talking about).


    So, let’s see how this develops and wether or not I will have the opportunity to teach Python, I hope I will.