Our Spotlight on Outstanding Teachers
Today: Rhys Richardson, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Computing
What do teachers make? They make a difference! Teachers are the most important part of what we do at DBE. But let’s get real! Teachers are some of the most important people in our society…period!
Meet the Champions shines a spotlight on outstanding teachers, and how they make a difference. Right here on the Quick Key Blog, we will be interviewing real working teachers from around the globe, who make a difference in their classrooms every day.
Rhys Richardson is an ICT & Computing classroom teacher from Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom. Rhys is just finishing his first year in the classroom after having spent time in industry as a Business Analyst, IT manager and Web Projects Manager.
So, without further ado…let’s meet a champion!
DBE: Why did you choose to become a teacher?
RR: My reasons for wanting to teach are straightforward and easy to explain. Children inspire and amaze me. Their mixture of personalities, their selflessness and generosity, their endless ability to forgive and their resilience is unrivalled. I wanted to be a part of this “magic” and be able to develop and promote all of these characteristics with a teaching post.
DBE: What is the biggest highlight from your classroom this year?
RR: Having started some extracurricular classes at my school during a Tuesday lunchtime for Key Stage 3 (11-14 year old pupils) using Kodu as a basis for engaging with them outside of the national curriculum. I was amazed at how quickly they managed to pick up the simple visual programming language of the application. Since the early days with that club, things have spread like wild fire. We now have the Kodu club as well as Lego Mindstorm clubs and for pupils which really wanted to jump into the deep end, we have a C for Arduino / Robotics club where the pupils build and program their own Dagu Rover robots.
DBE: Tell us about a teacher who inspired you. How did they do it? What made them great?
RR: It’s a common saying that ‘God broke the mold’ when it comes to certain individuals but in this instance there are two! Back when I was a student at Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari (a secondary school about 30 minutes from Cardiff) there were two teachers (Mr. Ian Gillam and Mr. Mike Ebbsworth) who quite frankly had a different ethos of teaching than the rest. They were able to show me that the subjects they taught could be ‘cool’ and ‘interesting’ even when we were looking at the dry, theory aspects. It’s really these two teachers who inspired me to become a teacher myself.
DBE: How is your profession changing?
RR: Most subjects are quite cyclical, the same education has been provided in these areas year after year. However, in ICT and Computing we are educating pupils today to be able to use technologies that haven’t even been invented yet! By teaching the concepts of computing, it doesn’t really have a great bearing on what comes next but the ability to analyze it and be able to pick the new technology up quite quickly is key.
As an ICT specialist it really is important to keep abreast of the changing face of technology and bring these new ideas to the classroom. This is why I am really keen to see Quick Key take off as it will free up so much of my (and other teachers) time from marking so that we can get back to doing what we do best, TEACHING!
DBE: What is really hard about teaching, and how do you deal with it?
RR: The difficulty right now is knowing when to stop! There are so many examples of interesting world events that tie into computing when trying to explain the dryer topics such as sensors. When you can bring items such as the Stuxnet Virus to the pupils’ attention and show how the smallest of sensors could have massive consequences, you can see them instantly engage with an otherwise dry subject.
There is also a change in the direction of ICT in Wales and the United Kingdom with a big push for Computing. We wanted to help the pupils as much as possible on this route and have started extra clubs to help them as well as organising field trips to Technocamps (http://www.technocamps.com/) to learn some programming skills in Scratch and Green Foot Java.
Rhys would like you to check out this link to remind us all why we TEACH!