Get to know CS Teacher Weston

June 12th, 2018

“No matter the background or interests, every student should at least be introduced to some computer science, who knows….it might spark a new interest other than sports, drama, or math.”

Teacher: Weston Heeren

School: Decatur Central High School

Subject: Intro to Computer Science

How would you explain computer science to someone is completely unaware of the subject? 

Computer science is the main concept behind how computers work. It is the study of the language that allows computers to communicate to each other and it’s how people are able to communicate with computers.

Why do you think it is important for students to take Computer Science courses?

Every student has a device, be it a phone, an iPad, or a laptop so it’s important for them to know how everything works. I have had kids who want to be game designers or web developers and now we have the curriculum to have them work through it.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

I have always liked helping others, even in high school. In my Junior year in high school I took chemistry with my favorite teacher, and from that moment I wanted to be a science teacher.

If you weren’t a teacher, what other career or job would you like to pursue and why?

Probably a chemical engineer or pharmaceuticals. I love chemistry and all my friends in college asked me since I needed so many Chemistry classes to be a teacher, why wouldn’t I become a chemical engineer because they make more money. It was never about the money to me. Great teachers teach because they can and they know they can make a difference. But developing medicines would be another fulfilling job.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Shawshank Redemption. The story is gripping and exhilarating and the character development is amazing. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like that movie…it is probably one of the ten best movies of all time.

Tell us about a favorite teacher you had.

He taught chemistry and AP chemistry in high school. His teaching style was easy to follow as a student, if you didn’t get something at first, he would make sure you did later. He made chemistry fun and gave us a lot of insight into the “why” things happened, not just here is this cool experiement….remember it. I learned a lot from him in class and as his teacher aid.

If you could correct one misconception about Computer Science, what would it be? 

That only “nerds” deal with computers. From the “revenge of the nerds” movies in the 80’s and 90’s to the Geek Squad from Best Buy, everyone has this “nerd” connotation about computers.

What does CS for All mean to you?

That every person should have access to computer science education. No matter the background or interests, every student should be introduced to some computer science, who knows….it might spark a new interest other than sports, drama, or math.

Please tell us about a hobby or interest you have?

I love to golf. I started playing golf as a sophomore in high school. I worked hard at getting better and while in college, I started getting pretty good. After I graduated college, my roommate and I would play golf three days a week so I starting getting really good. I even got so good that I was able to try out for the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship 3 years ago. I have been coaching middle school golf for the past 4 years and I love being around the game. Some kids at school give me flak saying “how can you play golf?” or “golf is not a sport”….but I usually come back with “well, can you?” Golf is a learned activity that you have to work at, like playing basketball or football.

What is your favorite holiday and why? 

Christmas. I love seeing my family that time of the year and the joy my kids have seeing all the stuff that “Santa” brings them for being good.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

That I love rock and roll and heavy metal music. People think it’s odd because I don’t “look like I listen to that music.” I have been to several large concerts that shock people when I tell them that I was there.

If you could have one superpower, what would it would be and why?

Teleportation. Being able to instantly be somewhere else instead of driving or flying several hours would make vacations so much better.

What makes Nextech special? 

Nextech has taken this computer science initiative and ran with it. They are training teachers and getting partnerships with schools to help this movement go forward.

What has been your favorite memory of working with Nextech? 

How friendly everyone is. I went to a fundraiser last spring and ended up about 30 minutes early so I walked around talking to people and helping out where I can. Everyone was friendly and great to talk to.

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