This month we’d like you to meet Charity Freeman, a CS Teacher at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. In her project, Charity seeks to identify, devise and implement critical pedagogical strategies in my classroom, with the goal of preparing high school students to navigate racially/ethnically homogenous, male-dominated spaces in the computing ecosystem – in higher education and beyond.
Five Questions with Charity Freeman
What do you hope to achieve as a CSTA Equity Fellow?
One thing I’m really looking forward to is being able to inform professional development opportunities for other computer science teachers.
Can you describe how you’ve disrupted inequities in your classroom?
I’m a teacher. My entire job is about building relationships with students, regardless of their access to resources, regardless of their exposure to computer science topics. I’m all about leveling the playing field and making sure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed. If you’re going to say “no” to computer science, say “no” because you’re not interested, not “no” because you don’t know.
How did you get involved in teaching computer science?
I started out as a business teacher and I actually came into the Chicago Public School system teaching computer science because I had a background teaching web design. My previous administrator said, “Hey! Web design! That’s totally the same thing as computer science, come on over!” and it was that misunderstanding or misconception of what CS is that led to what has become the most fulfilling aspect of my journey as a teacher thus far.
What does equity in CS mean to you?
Equity in CS means that any student who envisions a programmer, or a gamer, or a coder is able to see themselves in that role.
Why should others consider teaching computer science?
Because it’s the best thing ever! I mean, it’s computer science! First of all, we are at the forefront of everything that is great and important in the world. Right now, we are making decisions in technology much quicker than our legislation can keep up with. We have legislators and we have disciplinary actions that are being taken against people who are taking other people’s identities. We don’t actually understand how impactful that is to our society. We don’t have laws to keep up with the amount of information that we are gathering and the way that we are using that. This is an exciting time to be in CS and anyone who is remotely interested in impacting the next generation should totally be a CS teacher and if you want more information come ask me and I will recruit you myself.