At the corner of learning and doing, Grayson County Middle School students are getting a head start on one of the hottest career fields while still in middle school. Shane Decker spends most of his day as a 7th grade social studies teacher, but Fridays find him teaching a college and career class on the popular and fast-growing field of computer coding.
The mixed grade lab combines brief lessons with real world, hands-on application. Students are selected for the class based on inventory interest tests taken last year. After just a semester, they are able to design their own web pages.
Decker shows them the technical side, as he helps them learn to create through graphics. “It really is a science, technology, and math field, and it’s got that creative element to it, too. They don’t realize they’re doing all these things and how much problem solving goes into this,” he said.
Adding frequent glimpses into the work environment of some of the world’s biggest and most renowned tech companies like Google and Facebook with their employee-centered corporate cultures, gives students a look at perhaps the pinnacle of the field. Decker is quick to add, that the industry in general provides high wage, high demand employment opportunities, and “it’s a field that’s not going anywhere.”
Once students leave his classroom, they can continue to learn on their own, even at home, thanks to the internet. Decker says he’s just trying to create an earlier interest in the field with students. For those who develop that passion; the future holds not just a job for them but “a way of life.”