by Gordon Zhu and Samson Guan
Inspired from creating his own webpage during middle school, Computer Science teacher Mr. Tan aspires to bring Computer Science education to youth by educating them about it. He believes that young people should be offered the opportunity to learn and create things about technology. They should not be satisfied with using programs like Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, but instead be able to create things that can help people in the world, such as apps.
For Mr. Tan, working with youth is enjoyable because it is very rewarding to see students grow. During his middle school years, Mr. Tan volunteered as a tutor to help students with their math homework. In high school he volunteered for a summer program at UC Berkeley, of which he stayed in throughout college too. It was an organization which consisted of students from all over the bay area: Oakland, San Leandro and Richmond that taught math, writing and engineering.
“When I first started college, I was interested in electrical engineering and computer science, but in the back of my head, I was also interested in education. So I started taking education courses, and that got me more and more interested in becoming a teacher. For me it was more of a gradual process,” said Mr. Tan.
Mr. Tan feels that bureaucracy stops him from providing computer science education to youth because academic systems are hard to change. He can only do so much as a teacher, since there are a lot of systematic barriers in expanding computer science education. But a lot of them have been gradually coming down, like San Francisco offering computer science education to K-12 students. He is expecting a lot of progress in the future as work is being done to change the system. Mr. Tan is expecting to stay in the teaching career for at least another 5 years; in that time he hopes things will change for the better.
On a final note, Mr. Tan says, “Teaching is challenging and demanding, but it’s really rewarding as well when you see students grow, learn, and become better people.”