Friday, February 10, 2012

In Which it is Entirely Possible that Regular Blogging about Students Shall Return to this Space

It is true that a student came to my office to appeal his grade, and I did not immediately report on the situation. The student was either unwilling or unable to understand my position that your work needs to have content -- no matter how beautiful or voluminous it may be -- in order to fulfill the requirements of that particular assignment. Stu fixated on details and asked questions showing a lack of acceptance of my point: Would I have gotten credit if I had used Microsoft Word instead of Microsoft Excel? (My answer: You could get full credit with a pencil on paper.)

But that is not the point of this post.

Rather, I am now wondering how to best take my recent indoctrination about the value of Scratch, Processing, and programming-free computer science and leverage it to gain employment in a STEM field. I was told that we are facing a shortage of STEM workers of critical proportions and that we must educate students -- especially those from under-represented demographics -- so that they can solve this crisis in our nation.

Yes, it is true. Your tax dollars flew me to Washington, DC so that the NSF could tell me about these important issues. The NSF is very, very interested in there being more computer science majors because a recent survey of craigslist jobs in the Bay Area showed that all of them required technology -- including the ad to hire a new dogcatcher (MS Access databases). Thus, we need to teach more Scratch and Processing so that students can major in computer science to become Access-using dogcatchers.

Speaking of NSF, earlier this week at our staff meeting, we were informed that our program officer says that there is no way to extend the current grant (the grant that pays 100% of my salary) beyond September 2013 and there are currently no calls in the works for new grants doing the same thing.

So I have started searching the job listings, seeing what options I have in STEM.

And, apparently I am not qualified to do anything. So perhaps I will go back to teaching calculus. Unless you think that I can become more employable by brushing up on Scratch and Processing.