TOTM: Obinna Obike


Photo Courtesy of Obinna Obike

Obinna Obike strives to work hard and motivate his students to perform their best in the online classroom, providing a safe environment for everyone involved.

By Nur Yavuz, Features Editor

Solely from behind a computer screen, AP Computer Science Principles teacher Obinna Obike inspires, motivates and provides a safe, nurturing environment for his students. Obike’s first year of teaching at WCHS has been online-only, but he has already made an impact on many students despite not being in the physical classroom. 

Obike is in the process of obtaining his masters in computer science from Georgia Tech, all while managing a handful of AP classes. His passion for teaching, as well as being a student himself, makes it easier for both him and his students to relate to one another and feel comfortable in the classroom.

“Before I became a teacher I was working in the corporate world as an engineer, but I didn’t get that passion of helping people,” Obike said. “With engineering you don’t get to really see an impact, but when it comes to jobs that are nonprofit or part of the government, you can clearly see the impact of what you’re doing and the students you are impacting.”

Having reliable teachers that educate their students about a lot of life lessons is something very valuable – something that Obike knew from experience. 

“Looking back at my own time in the public school system, I had some pretty amazing teachers that really had an impact on the way that I thought and the way that I think now,” Obike said. “I want to translate that impact to the students that I am teaching, so that they have the ability to have teachers like I had in eighth grade who can have that impact on them, whether that be helping them out with their careers or helping them outside of school and giving them that motivation to do better.”

At Howard University in northern New Jersey, Obike had the chance to mentor students. His experience was a factor in his growing love for teaching. 

“It’s a part of a program where you implement a cultural curriculum that’s catered towards students,” Obike said. “It was very interesting that despite the fact that it was labeled a low performing or low income school, the students there were very quick witted and very intelligent and were really engaged and participating in the discussion, so that kind of got me interested in what it would be like to be a teacher. “

Becoming a teacher was a plan Obike sought to pursue later on in his life, but his commitment to the computer science field began early on in his childhood. The film “The Social Network” released in the year 2010 was a catalyst for his growing interest in technology.

“The Social Network came out around 2010. I was either in middle school or graduated from middle school,” Obike said. “That kind of got me interested in development and making money, building apps and building websites, entrepreneurship and what not.”

The parents and grandparents of today’s young adult generation are less experienced with technology, as it is just beginning to grow and spread across the globe. Not many people are familiar with how the internet works and how cell phones function.

“My parents don’t come from a technological or computer science background so i didn’t really have any mentorship in that field,” Obike said. “I was always really interested in the internet, and I think my parents got me my very first computer during elementary school. I would spend most of my time on the computer just researching and watching youtube.”

Obike strives to assist his students to become the best version of themselves, whether that be academically or personally. His personal experience with his eighth-grade teacher is one he wants his students to experience. 

“I feel important and included in class,” junior Skylar Yentis said. “It’s obvious that Mr. Obike cares a lot for his students, I have a lot of respect for him.”

Obike encourages good study skills and habits to become successful after graduation. He believes high school should be the basic preparation for marching into the real world. 

“One of the big issues I’ve noticed with education is that there’s a gap between what you learn in high school and what you are going to learn in college; I feel high school doesn’t necessarily prepare you for college, it’ll only help you to learn the study skills that are necessary to do well in college,” Obike said. “I think one piece of advice that I have to students is that if it’s possible, take a course either online or once you graduate that teaches you how to think critically and think deep; philosophy is a really good way to teach you how to think critically.”

Teachers are extremely important factors in the way students learn to behave and spread their knowledge as adults later in their lives. Education about how today’s society functions is just as important as any other class that is taught in school. 

“A lot of students just don’t see the point in what they are learning, or the motivation in why they should learn something,” Obike said. “My goal is to hopefully as a teacher inspire students to continue on in the field of computer science, or if they don’t at least they can look back at my class and say hey, I still remember what Mr. Obike taught me 10, 20 years down the line.”