Snakes and coding: Interview with Ms. Justice

February 2020 – You might be taking coding class and if you are, then great! It is one of the best elective classes for gamers, and there is a class pet corn snake named Noodle.

Why not get to know the teacher? Meet O. Henry Middle School’s coding teacher, Mrs. Jenna Justice.

Q:What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Justice: I am a site manager at a local food forest (garden) and have a garden at my house, so I spend a lot of time gardening. I also enjoy running, hiking, and swimming with my dogs.

Q: What made you want to be a coding teacher?

Justice: I have always been interested in computers and fixing computer issues since my family got our first computer in 1996. I got my degree to teach math but was very excited for the opportunity to switch over to computer science when the class was introduced two years ago at O Henry.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, how much do you support the new phone policy? (1=no 10=yes)

Justice: I would say an 8 or 9. Teaching is much easier without constantly trying to monitor students looking at phones. The only downside is teachers not being able to utilize apps or websites like Kahoot or video editing. However, this is not really a problem for me since my classes are always on computers.

Q: If you could say one thing to young coders, what would it be?

Justice: Always keep building and trying new things! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or totally revamp a project if it is not how you envisioned it to begin with. Everything you need to know can be found online; you just have to be willing to try it.

Q:What are your favorite programming languages?

Justice: I really like web design – HTML and CSS. Python is also becoming a favorite as I learn more because I like the syntax and variety of devices and programs it can be used with.

Q:When will you get Grandma? Will you get some cool cage decorations for them to hang out in?

Backstory: Grandma is a snake that Mrs. Justice met and is going to adopt as a friend for Noodle.

Justice: That is a good question! I need to check in with the breeder that I got Noodle from and see what’s up. I am still worried that she is a little too small for some students to handle. I would love new furniture for them! I think 3-D printing some decor could be really neat. 

Q:What big coding-related projects have you participated in or done?

Justice: I have not been part of any big project. I am part of a research study through UT right now to get more female involvement in STEM and CS. Last year, I also took students to present robotics projects at the state capital and an educator’s conference.

Q: Have you ever won teacher of the year?  If so, when?

Justice: Not yet!

Q:What one thing did you enjoy most about last semester?

Justice: I really enjoyed coaching our cross country team. In class, I think I most enjoyed doing art/design projects using Python with my 7th and 8th grade coding classes. 

Q:What is your favorite branch of coding? (games, web design etc.) Why?

Justice: Right now I would say web design because I know most about it and I think it is rewarding to immediately see what you created. I also really like machine learning/ AI and am interested to learn more about it.