December TOTM: Rebecca Smith

By Emma Chen, Assistant Observations Editor

Not every teacher at WCHS can say that they have taught all high school grade levels, but as AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) becomes increasingly popular, AP CSP teacher Rebecca Smith has become one of those teachers.

A member of the Computer Science and Technology department at WCHS, Smith has been teaching for 25 years, nine of which have been at WCHS. However, Smith has not always taught high school. She has taught at North Bethesda Middle School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School prior to coming to WCHS.

“I like high school the best,” Smith said. “I like the conversations and the more advanced content that high schoolers bring.”

In her previous teaching jobs, Smith taught a wide variety of subjects, including english, math and science, but chose to focus on computer science when starting to teach high school. One of her favorite memories is when the students in her middle school technology class designed floor plans for an animal shelter. She loved how deeply the computer science activity resonated with the students. Because of this, she went back to college to get a masters degree in computer science and decided that it was the class she wanted to teach.

“I think the problem solving and computational thinking is what made me gravitate towards computer science,” Smith said.

Smith is thrilled at the recent boom in the need for computer science skills and the career possibilities that she can expose her students to through computer science, such as software engineering, web developing and computer programming. Smith also enjoys the creative and unique atmosphere in the computer science lab.

“Computer science has a wide variety of thoughts and opinions that are great,” Smith said. “Students help each other so much that you do not even realize.”

Smith really enjoys the bond she can share with her students through computer science and programming. WCHS students especially know Smith for her enthusiastic and caring personality toward each individual.

“I like that Ms. Smith always makes an effort to help her students,” senior Ariel Derby said. “AP Computer Science Principles can be a difficult class with many topics covered, but Ms. Smith makes every topic manageable by helping every student who asks.”

During class, Smith will ensure her student’s understanding of the material by going table to table and confirming that her students know what is being taught.

“Ms. Smith walks around the classroom to make sure each student understands the material,” junior Macafie Bobo said. “She really shows she cares.”

Outside of school, Smith enjoys running, playing with her daughter, reading and cooking anything Italian. Her favorite book is “Let Your Mind Run” by Deena Kastor, as it helps her with her running.

“I am just really happy that the computer science program has really taken off,” Smith said.