At Next Jump, we care about giving back to the community. That’s why we started our Adopt-A-School Initiative in New York and London, to “adopt” a school in need and help run their after school program. If every for-profit corporation were to adopt a school, the impact it would have on kids’ education would be huge.
As the lead engineer of our Adopt-A-School programme in London, Craig has helped many of our eager students embark on their coding journey. We asked Craig to share his thoughts on being a part of the initiative and fostering students’ excitement in STEM topics.
Why did you volunteer to become head of engineering at Netley?
Craig: Teaching has always been something that has interested me. I used to do tutoring at University with other students, and would even write little guides for certain tricky parts of different modules. I find there is nothing more satisfying than helping someone finally understand a concept they have been struggling with – when those cogs finally click together.
What have you learned through teaching?
Craig:Teaching is very difficult and I’ve gained a lot of respect for my own teachers growing up. We only visit for 90 minutes every few weeks, but it’s completely exhausting. The teachers at Netley have to teach all day everyday, so I can only imagine how tiring that must be. I have a lot of respect for them, but also those that taught me while I was in school, both for their patience, and their ability to nurture my passions and shape me into the person I am today.
If you could do it again what would you change?
Craig: Utilise the teachers at the school more. Whilst we have the technical know how, and can show the children cool things, I’m not sure how much they will retain. Whereas the teachers know how to teach the children and have that knowledge stay with them. With the next year of Adopt-a-School starting soon, I’ll definitely be leaning on the teachers more so that we can ensure that the children are learning things that they will remember and use outside of the 90 minutes we are there.
Do you think this program adds value to their schooling?
Craig: A lot of the children we work with grow up in troubled neighbourhoods or households, and I think showing them a positive role model (both male and female) is important to show them they don’t have to follow the same path as those around them. For me, as the leader of the Engineering track, I made sure to bring a lot of the female Next Jumpers to the sessions, because it helps break the perception that engineering and computers are for boys, when in reality, anyone who has a passion for computers should be able to follow it.
What results do you hope for?
Craig: To inspire the children to reach higher than they think they can in their current environment. For my track specifically, it’s about inspiring them to engage with technology more.
What is your most memorable teaching moment?
Craig: When we first revealed that we would be learning about robots and robotics. Seeing their faces light up, seeing this robot that they had programmed obey their instructions, was magical. They were seeing the physical implications of their programming and a real world example of what they could achieve.