Mrs. Goltermann’s 2B by Jack Cashwell

Jack Cashwell, Writer

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At Tabb Middle School, there is a wide array of elective courses. Elective courses, or simply electives, are extra non-core classes that students choose each year to extend their learning beyond the required curriculum. There are 32 available electives at Tabb Middle. Some of these include foreign languages, technology courses, and music classes. Today, I visited an elective classroom, and in it I made many noteworthy observations.

The class that I visited was “Intro to Programming and Game Design,” taught by Mrs. Goltermann. It’s one of the school’s technology courses, in which students learn to code for the web on various websites. They learn to make video games and websites, a very useful skill in today’s technology-filled world.

When I first arrived at room 316, Mrs. Goltermann’s room, I immediately noticed that the classroom was structured very differently than most classes. The teacher wasn’t teaching, and the students were allowed to talk freely. Instead of the teacher guiding what they do and helping them every step of the way like most classes, she let them work independently and chat amongst each other. The 22 seventh and eighth graders were arranged parallel to the walls, all sitting at computers coding for the web. The walls were covered with posters about various technological inventions. Some students were up and about building and working on devices to plug into their computers, while others were just working quietly.

I decided to interview a couple of students to see what they thought of the class. The first student I sat down with was named Gus. My first question for Gus was what they do in programming class. He said that they are currently working on logic puzzles on the computer, and other problem solving exercises. I then asked if he likes the class, to which he replied, “There isn’t too much happening, so it’s not my favorite right now. It has potential, though.” I proceeded to ask his thoughts about the class’ independent student-lead structure. He said that he likes the structure because it allows him to work at his own pace rather than the pace of the teacher. My next inquiry was about the behavior of his class, to which he humorously replied, “It’s good. I don’t sit near any of the bad students.”

After wrapping up my interview with Gus, I then sat down to interview a student named Dakota. I asked him the same questions as Gus, starting off with what they do. He said that they learn to code online, learning about coding concepts such as loops, functions, and if-then statements.  When I asked his thoughts about the structure of the class, he told me that he thinks it has a better structure than the typical class because you have to rely on your own knowledge and the knowledge of other students rather than the teacher. To my last question, about whether or not his class behaves well, he simply replied, “Yes.”

Those two interviews gave me some valuable information about the curriculum, structure, and behavior of the class. It taught me more about how the students feel about the class, too. Visiting the class was very interesting and gave me a lot of insight about programming classes and about the students in said programming classes. It was a very informational experience, and will definitely help me in choosing my elective courses next year.

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