The Lone Wolf… Rides Alone

The Lone Wolf… Rides Alone

Richard White, 2016-10-15

Computer Science teachers at the 9-12 grade level are a lonely group of individuals in many cases. Some of us have colleagues nearby with whom we can converse with on a regular basis–there might even be a computer science program or department at our school–but many of us work alone, and represent the sole face of *Computer Science instructor* at our schools.

Some people enjoy the freedom that comes with being the “lone wolf” of the school’s Computer Science program. You have a bit more control of the curriculum you teach, perhaps, and conflict resolution with peers goes a whole lot easier when you don’t *have* any peers.

But there are challenges as well. Many of us are responsible for wearing multiple hats simultaneously, managing hardware, software, and curriculum, for example. Or we teach separate classes in widely varying topics: computer science, networking, web design, and mobile application development. In addition to our courses, we mentor robotics teams, we advise Girls Who Code clubs, and we organize “Hour of Code” events for the larger community. We promote Computer Science as a subject internally to our peers and administrators, and act as *de facto* Public Relations representatives to the wider community.

It’s no wonder we get a little tired sometimes.

With an increased interest in computer science, computer principles, and computer programming, there’s a call for more computer science teachers nationwide.

For me, it can’t happen to soon. As much as I’ve enjoyed developing and teaching computer science classes at my school, I could use a little company.

What’s your preference? Do you enjoy working alone, or is the idea of bringing in someone else to share ideas and share the labor appeal to you?

4 thoughts on “The Lone Wolf… Rides Alone

  1. I hear you, my friend. I hear you. The lone wolf method is freeing because during those periods of my career I was free to experiment and try new ideas without needing to bring somebody else along. But this is also the dark side, as it lends to myopic self-reinforcement of my own ideas. What I really seek is a balance of both, where a trusted and capable colleague is also adventurous and we take turns leading and following the other’s example.

  2. Great to hear from you Colin! You make a good point, and I feel fortunate to have had just that kind of support for pretty much my entire career. I’m sure I’ve spoken to you about my former colleagues up at Berkeley High: we *still* get together at least once or twice a year for a “Work Weekend,” a science / technology retreat to an Airbnb someplace where we write curriculum, plan lessons, go out for dinner, and watch Star Wars movies.

    And you and I have had our own conversations over the years, of course…!

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