Ms. Hendricks started as an elementary teacher before becoming certified as a school librarian. She worked in library and information science for 20 years before her son’s computer science teacher called her and asked if she would be interested in becoming a computer science teacher. At first Ms. Hendricks was hesitant, since she had limited experience teaching computer science and had taken few courses in computer science. Upon her son’s teacher’s encouragement, Ms. Hendricks enrolled in a computer science teacher certification course. To her surprise, she found she really enjoyed it. Once she started teacher, she began learning about cybersecurity by teaching an AP course and eventually started a Cyber Patriots Team.
Reflecting on her experience, Ms. Hendricks advises teachers that their classroom will have a mix of students, some students will know more than the teacher while other students will have no prior experience in the field. Ms. Hendricks encourages teachers to invite knowledgeable students to participate in the classroom by asking them to help teach the content.
Ms. Hendricks now works at EPIC, Expanding Pathways in Computing. The program strives to get more teachers certified in computer science. Ms. Hendricks joined to work with teachers to help them become trained in cybersecurity. Since joining, Ms. Hendricks has joined a committee that is working on national K-12 standards for cybersecurity. She explained that even kindergarten students would learn cybersecurity basics such as the importance of passwords.
Many teachers, even those certified in the computer science, may be called upon to teach content areas that do not fall within their area of expertise. Ms. Hendricks had such an experience when she started teaching cybersecurity in the high school classroom. Providing teachers with professional development and resources is critical in order to equip teachers to be successful in the classroom. Rex Academy provides teachers with resources that support teachers who may be called to teach in multiple areas of computer science. Since computer science is such a broad field, it is difficult for one teacher to become an expert in all computer science topics. Rex Academy provides teachers with curriculum that allows teachers to be a pedagogical expert while receiving curriculum and content knowledge support.