Several Harker students have been spending their free time teaching children at various locations in the San Jose area. Seniors Arun Shriram and Natalie Simonian, co-presidents of the Harker Science for Youth club, give monthly presentations at the West Valley Branch Library, the Rose Garden Branch Library and Grant Elementary School. “We teach various topics in science with several fun, hands-on activities that kids can participate in,” Shriram said. “Our activities include physics, chemistry, astronomy, rainforests, oceans, human anatomy, nutrition, psychology and others.”
Shriram said his experience teaching kids at California Academy of Sciences and The Tech Museum helped him realize how much he enjoys teaching science to younger students. “I realized that I loved teaching my favorite subjects to children and simplifying it for them,” he said. “Afterward, I became excited to teach kids.”
Another class, titled Kidz Kode, is taught by juniors Kedar Gupta, Varun Baldwa and Parth Pendurkar and specializes in Java programming. “The three of us manage two classes right now — one at the West Valley Library, with 20 kids, and another at the Bascom Library, with 14,” said Gupta. “We’ve already completed a Kidz Kode session, so that’s about 50 children total.”
The three Harker students first became interested in teaching while taking computer science classes at school and finding out that they all wished they’d started coding sooner. “We wanted to create a way for kids to get their feet wet in the field, and that’s how we came up with the idea for Kidz Kode,” Gupta said.
The students who teach the classes said they have found the experience of teaching to be highly rewarding. “The most enjoyable part of educating kids is the glows of joy that I notice when children understand something or relate new material to previous experiences,” said Shriram. “That means that I’ve inspired someone else to possibly choose a life of science or at least be interested in a subject they previously never knew about.”
Gupta said he enjoys seeing the progress students make after attending the Kidz Kode sessions. “Watching a child grow from not knowing how to open files all the way to writing complete Java programs is an awesome feeling, since we know that we as teachers led them on that path,” he said.