Teaching Remotely with Tynker: Victor Hicks
|The Kindezi Schools|
This week we were so excited to speak to Victor Hicks of The Kindezi Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to working full-time as a computer science teacher, Victor is also a dance coach for the Psi Phi Beta Youth Step Team, so he knows a little something about keeping kids on their toes! We got Victor’s take on what teachers can do to manage their students learning in a remote environment while keeping their spirits up in what can be an overwhelming time.
Tip #1: Give Yourself Some Grace
As a coach, Victor acknowledged it’s easy to give yourself a hard time if things don’t go perfectly, but ultimately thinks it’s important that everyone gives each other a break right now. “We can stress the kids and ourselves out with expectations, but this is a learning period for everyone,” Victor explains. “Realizing that for some kids, just getting through one lesson right now is an accomplishment. I think just being realistic about and not pushing yourself or beating yourself up too much about not reaching a certain goal. So, I set a recommended lesson, while also giving myself and my students that grace that as long as I’m seeing some kind of progress, we’re good.”
You can even connect with your students about struggles on your end too. “Kids really appreciate when you share a candid experience,” Victor said. “If I tell them I struggled with Lesson 6 too, they’ll appreciate knowing that I’m going through this with them.”
Tip #2: Redefine Success.
“It’s important that we redefine our definition of success as a teacher and for each individual kid,” Victor told us. “I’m a huge believer in energy. I think sometimes the universe has to tell you to slow down. This can be an opportunity to focus on creativity and allow students to ebb and flow which is a beautiful way to learn. A silver lining to all this craziness is that we can slow down on a lot of that.”
Redefining success can also let you see the instances where this situation may be allowing some kids to shine like never before. “It’s interesting because I have some kids who would struggle in the day-to-day and it’s been awesome to see how some of my kids have really flourished. That’s one of the beautiful success stories of it all. It was amazing to see how well the Tynker platform allowed [one student] to do his thing. His mother asked me how much time he should be spending on it, and when I said at least 30 minutes, she said he’d been doing at least 2 hours!”
“It’s really about exposure,” Victor continued. “The end result is I want the kids to code as much as possible to practice these skills. Not for a grade, but because it’s important. As many barriers I can remove, as many minds as I can set at ease, that’s important.”
Victor says it’s important to not be afraid to try new things during this time. He’s been so taken with the success he’s seen his kids have with the Tynker platform so far, that he’s planning to move on to teaching loops, AR and more! “Even if the distance learning extends longer, by that point my kids will be even more comfortable,” he told us. “I’ll be looking forward to what we can do next!”
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