Writer, copy editor, and educator who finds joy in reading, writing, and thinking along life’s trails


Duck University’s Computer Club Champion

For many of us, “Point, click, and drag” may have little meaning, but they’re everyday vocabulary words for Jimmy Birch. He is the T.H. Johnson Duck University enrichment group teacher for the Computer Club. Each Tuesday afternoon, Jimmy and his students bring excitement about learning to the THJ computer lab. Jimmy designs active instructional tasks for his students from his original curriculum, his work experience with Taylor ISD technology, and his own life lessons.

Jimmy provides a helping hand and a willingness to listen derived from his own youth. Growing up near Bartlett, Jimmy recalls similar support from his eighth grade teacher, Ron Winsman. “Mr. Winsman made us read Robert Frost’s poem, ‘The Road Not Taken,’ in which the poet describes a decision-making time: ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and it has made all the difference.’” Jimmy believes that, as in this poem, each of us must choose our individual road in life. He gives his time to help our young people travel in the direction of success. Jimmy works to nurture students’ academic as well as affective learning. He was very fortunate to have his parents, who are the pastors of the church he attends, and teachers support him during a restless time in his youth. Friends gave him a computer when he was seventeen, so he opened a computer lab in his hometown. During the next few years, different teachers saw his great interest in computers and helped him develop job skills. He became a computer technician with the Bartlett School District. Bringing computer savvy and a desire to provide the same support for school children in Taylor, Jimmy began working in the technology department of Taylor ISD.

At present, the third, fourth, and fifth grade members of the Computer Club are using Microsoft Word to write and publish a book they can take home. One prewriting activity Jimmy used was to have each student talk about some event that seemed like a “tornado” in life. The discussion that followed allowed the children to share serious thoughts and emotions and enabled Jimmy to support them in their sharing. Jimmy wants these students to be better using the computer when they finish his class, but more importantly, he wishes them to have high self-esteem and self-confidence from his caring about them as people. He hopes they will remember. “You can dream, but in order for the dream to become real, you have to act upon it.” Jimmy will be following this same advice as he continues attending Texas State Technical College in Waco to earn his Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Network Administration. For now, he’s the THJ Duck University Computer Club Champion!

- April 25, 2007

*Used with permission from Taylor Press.

 


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