Meet TI Teacher of the Month: Alice Fisher
We’re celebrating teachers, like you, who make a difference in the classroom. This month, join us in getting to know Alice Fisher, an AP computer science teacher from Houston, who collaborates with professors from Rice University to integrate art into coding.Fast Facts About Alice:
- TEACHES WHAT: AP Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles, 9th-12th grade
- TEACHES WHERE: Bellaire High School, Houston, Texas
- TEACHING FOR HOW LONG: 13 years
Why did you become a teacher?
I’ve always liked the idea of helping others. Initially, I choose a pre-med path in college, but while in college I realized that I really enjoyed helping my friends with math homework. During this time, I decided teaching was more fulfilling to me, than the idea of going to med school. Teachers have such a lasting impact through the relationship with their students.
What advice would you give to your first-year teaching self?
Don't be so hard on yourself. Even if you make mistakes, which I still do, be forgiving of yourself and then be transparent with your students so that you are a role model for them.
"The other thing I would say is, don’t give meaningless homework – give meaningful problems."Alice Fisher, TI Teacher of the Month
Why do you enjoy teaching computer science?
Computer science is a way that I'm able to be creative. For example, I’ve been working with educators at Rice University on a project that integrates culturally relevant art into python in a Geometry class, which is such a neat way to integrate art with coding and math.
What is your primary goal for your students this year?
The obvious one is that I want them to pass the AP exam and get college credit. More importantly, I want my students to have the ability to solve problems in more than one way. I want to shift my students’ focus from being concerned with figuring out an answer, to thinking about different ways they can solve a problem. To me, what’s most important is being flexible in your thinking.How do you help your students learn difficult concepts?
One of the best things I’ve heard is that if you're teaching something hard that you let it go a little bit, but then you come back to it. From there, you start adding that concept back into your lesson plans. Not just that week, but over multiple weeks so that students can start getting a better understanding.
Any other words of wisdom for other teachers?
I think that you have to be excited about learning, yourself. It’s important to be humble and always open to learning how to do something even better. You should always be seeking out, improving your craft. Something I appreciate about the Teachers Teaching with Technology (T3) community is there is a wide representation of generations who find value in professional development. People are seeking out professional development not just in their twenties, but in their sixties and beyond. And I think that's amazing.