Meet the Teacher: James Colestock

Mr. James Colestock
9-12 Information Technology Teacher
APS Online High School in Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, CO

I worked in the IT field for nearly two decades, mostly as an Oracle Database Administrator, i.e., Oracle DBA.  In the latter years of my career, I started volunteering in schools and was shocked at the lack of career and technical education available to young people.  I could not understand why schools were not preparing students for the future; in particular, for the jobs of the future, e.g., those that involve Computer Science, Engineering, and the like.  I became a teacher because it has always been my instinct to become part of the solution, instead of just complaining about the problem.

I would consider myself a connected educator in the sense that I use educational technology, social networking, and the like to stay engaged and “plugged in” to the ever-changing world around me.  As the field of Education changes, I don’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities for my students or for my own professional development.  Staying connected allows me to provide my students with the most relevant, up-to-date, and engaging opportunities possible.

Working with young people hasn’t really changed my perspective, but it has reinforced some of my previously-held beliefs.  After all, how we teach, what we teach, and the resources we devote to that errand, says a lot about our collective values and beliefs as a society.  Now that I teach, I have a heightened appreciation for how one’s environment impacts what they ultimately become.  Furthermore, I have a better understanding for the power (and limitations) of the individual educator.

It’s important to me that my students believe that they can do great things and that they are inspired, on a regular basis, to do so.

When it comes to educational technology for your classroom, make decisions thoughtfully, carefully considering whether the tool (and what it teaches) is both age- and developmentally-appropriate.  Be a responsible steward of each educational dollar, balancing the cost and benefit as if you were spending your own money.

I believe it is important to keep standards and expectations high in the classroom and in schools overall.  Young people are just like the rest of us: they are amazingly resilient and respond well to a healthy challenge…