Kenya, Teaching

My students were supposed to report to school on August 18th but there was apparently a mix-up, so they came yesterday, September 1st. The students picked their classes and then the teachers sat down to figure out the time table. I was assigned two units, Intro to Programming and Algorithms and Network Essentials. I taught these same two classes last semester so I’ve already prepared notes, assignments, and tests; all I have to do this semester is review/revise my notes kidogo (a bit) and show up to class!
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Kenya, Teaching, Travel

What’s a teacher supposed to do when class is over, final exams have been marked, and final grades have been sent in?  Vacation!  So I’m off to Uganda with my friend Sureel by way of Tanzania and Rwanda starting on August 1st.  I have about three weeks before I have to start teaching again, so if I fanya haraka (do it fast) I can be back in ten or twelve days.  Half of the adventure is the journey, I know, but I do have a few specific stops in mind:

  • Mwanza province in Tanzania to eat some fish and see Lake Victoria which, in addition to being the source of the Nile, is 26,000 square miles. Wow!
  • The genocide museum in Rwanda.
  • Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda (where the infamous Idi Amin had a house).

So don’t freak out if you call me in the next two weeks and my phone is “disconnected,” I’ll be back soon! Adios, amigos!

Kenya, Teaching

I have been teaching two classes to students this semester: Introduction to Programming and Algorithms and Network Essentials. So I’ve spent the past eight or nine weeks lecturing, giving assignments, and issuing CATs. I just gave the third CAT to my programming students and I thought it was pretty fair, but I was surprised at the results. Every student got this question completely wrong:

int main()
int salary = 15000;

if( salary > 15000 )
cout << "You have a nice job!" << endl; } else { cout << "You need a new job!" << endl; } }

Asked what this small program would print when executed, they all answered “3.” I wrote this question to test understanding of two concepts: the conditional if/else structure and the “>” operator. I figured that even if the students didn’t understand the programming syntax, logic alone would guide them. After all, “greater-than” is a concept in plenty of other disciplines besides computer science.

It’s not like I haven’t been teaching them! We have definitely talked about both of these concepts in class, and I even had them try similar examples in the computer lab over the course of the semester.

Maybe it’s not supposed to make sense, like the people who built a machine to calculate the purpose of life, the universe, and everything in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy; the machine spent millions of years calculating, only to spit out “42.” Maybe “3” is the right answer and I’m just not asking the right question, haha.