Decoding Mr. Stephen Young

Stephen Young works in our Computing Department, teaching Computer Science at Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, and Key Stage 5. He joined the School in August 2020. He received his BSc honours degree in Information Systems and his PGCE at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, graduating in 2001. Stephen has taught in colleges and schools in the UK, Poland, Bermuda, and Spain. Before going to university, Steve worked for both the government and the private sector in computing.

During his time as a Teacher, Stephen taught Information Technology, Computer Science, and Design & Technology. He has taught a broad range of topics, software, and programming languages over the years. He was also involved in an international astronomy project, assisted with school science fairs, and ran an investment club. He is also very passionate about bringing technology into other subject areas and developing cross-curricular activities linked to Computing.

Besides his passion for Computing, Stephen enjoys going for walks, loves to travel and he is an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club.

Why did you choose to become a Teacher of Computer Science?

Serendipity played a role in my journey to becoming a teacher of Computer Science. I had an interview with IBM and didn’t do very well in the presentation section of the interview. When I received feedback, it was recommended that I take a PGCE in teaching to improve these skills. I also had several other interviews lined up with some big tech companies, but the dot com bubble was just about to burst and many of the tech companies began rolling back on their recruitment. I decided to go back to University and take a PGCE and discovered my passion was in teaching. Since then I haven’t looked back.

What made you join BSB?

The BSB position was brought to my attention by my agency who felt that the school was a good match for me, and I was a good match for the school. I did a lot of research on BSB and I really liked what I read; the ethos of the school is important to me as values affect outcomes. The school has a strong set of core values, a sign of a good school and BSB looked to have a safe and nurturing environment as well as a creative side in the Innovation Hub. Everything looked very positive. I have not been disappointed; I feel very settled and very happy working at BSB.

How has your previous teaching experience helped you to better connect with BSB students?

Having been on the international scene for almost 20 years and having taught students of many different nationalities in several different countries. I feel that all these experiences have helped me to connect with my students, as well as new colleagues. Having moved to and lived in several countries means that I settle very quickly into a new school and a new country. Leaving me to focus on my teaching and getting to know my students. 

What do you find the most rewarding in working with children?

Being a part of their development, igniting a spark that will inspire them to use their imagination and creativity to produce a piece of work, such as a mobile app, and seeing that aha moment and a smile on their face when they figure something out.

How do you use your passions in your professional life?

Obviously, I am very passionate about technology and have seen the world change so much over the past couple of decades, as it will continue to do so at a rapid pace. I encourage my students to try to visualize the future and how much technology will change their world. I want them to see just how important it is to learn to code, to be computer literate and be able to adapt to these changes as they happen.

What is your favourite programming language?  Explain why it is the best one for your students.

Python without a doubt. There are several reasons why Python is the best language for my students. Its readability, Python syntax is a lot easier to learn than other programming languages because it is similar to English. It is also very flexible and can be used for many different software projects, it’s also the fastest growing language and there are plenty of high paid jobs to those who can code in Python.

What misconceptions about the internet do pupils commonly have?  How would you overcome this?

I would say that pupils don’t think about what they are posting on the Internet, on social media, blogs etc. The reality is that once a file is uploaded to the Internet, it could be a comment, a picture etc., it is there forever, and many people don’t realise this. In this age of technology, a persons digital footprint probably begins with their parents posting a baby picture and continues from there.

It is actually cheaper and easier to store data than it is to delete it, this means that everything that a person posts online, good or bad, deliberate, or unintentional is there on the Internet forever leaving a permanent record of your online activity.

This activity is often investigated when you apply for a university, or a job, and as such there are many cases where a persons digital footprint has resulted in them being declined a place at a prestigious university, or losing a job opportunity.

To overcome this, I try to educate students to think before they post, to think about the possible consequences of their actions online.

Are robots going to take over the world?

Absolutely, but not in the forms depicted in the Terminator movies and not necessarily just robots on their own. I strongly believe that we are on the cusp of yet another technology revolution, which will come about through three key technological advances, robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation. Such advances are highly likely to change our world, and society far beyond anything that we have experienced so far. Some experts are predicting that 50% of the worlds jobs could disappear within the next decade or so due to automation.

The development in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is leading to more innovative robots. We have already seen robotics being used in manufacturing, this will continue to advance, but beyond this we will see robots being used in agriculture, pharmaceutical labs, retail, courier services, the military to name but a few. AI is also leading the way to automation through machine-learning algorithms which will inevitably lead to replacing many different types of jobs.

What are the most valuable lessons you've learned from the children you've taught?

My first thoughts on this question are that the student learns from the teacher, the teacher learns from the student and we all grow in the process. We are not all cast in the same mould, we are all different and therefore getting to know my students, who they are, how they think and how they learn is an important factor in my job. It’s not just about the students learning, it’s also about me learning how best to meet their needs and help them along their learning journey.

What are the most significant challenges that you've faced up until now in your professional life?

My subject is so dynamic that I am constantly learning new things. Whether that is learning about the latest software or programming language updates, but also new and emerging technologies. We live in a world of exponentially increasing technology advancements, so it can be a challenge to keep up with the pace.

Which player would you bring to Liverpool?

I would love to see Lionel Messi play for Liverpool.

If you weren't a Teacher, what would your dream job be?

An astronaut

And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.

I am a domainer, I buy and sell domain names as a hobby. Several years ago, I had a portfolio of over 3,000 .com domain names, but now I try keeping this to a more manageable 100 or so.



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