Igniting Tomorrow’s Innovators and Developing the Most Valued Engineers
I have a saying in my class. “More of you and less of me is a very good thing.” What I mean by this is a teacher needs to transition their classroom from a “teacher centered” environment to a “student centered” one. You need to be willing to let go and give your kids the opportunity and freedom to learn how to learn. You have to allow them to fail because it is through their failures that the most profound learning takes place. For this to occur a teacher must create an environment in which a student is able to fail without adverse consequences. It is within this environment that a student can truly be creative and innovative.
The kids respond wonderfully to this because my classroom is also a working machine shop with industrial-grade machinery. Through industry standard instruction in safety and fabrication my students quickly learn to respect the equipment, the design process, authentic feedback from myself and experts in the field and teamwork because all of these components are essential to transform a sheet of raw metal into a 20 foot long rocket capable of reaching nearly 4 times the speed of sound.
Colin Lang is a teacher, mentor, and coach. He is in his ninth year at Alamo Heights High School where he is the teacher of (Systems Go) Aerospace Studies program, an innovative, project-based education program and is the founder and Head Coach of the Alamo Heights High School Rugby Team.
Previously he taught for 1 year at the KIPP Aspire Academy and 8 years at Zachary Middle School as the eighth grade lead science teacher.
Colin earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology and Kinesiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio and more recently a Masters of Education degree in Integrated Physics and Chemistry from Our Lady of the Lake University graduating Magna Cum Laude from both schools. Mr. Lang holds certifications to teach Physics, Chemistry, Biology and IPC. He is also a certified coach having coached football, rugby, hockey, wrestling, MMA, basketball, track and volleyball.
He has served as a mentor to new teachers, a coach and presenter at science and technology conferences as well as the lead trainer and instructor for the SystemsGo program. Mr. Lang has received several awards including First Year Teacher of the Year (NISD), Spotlight on Excellence Award (AHISD), Texas High School Rugby Coach of the Year and was a finalist in the HEB Excellence in Education and Trinity Prize. He believes that learning should be fun and experienced in a real life context. The Rocketry program at Alamo Heights is a perfect example how project-based education through problem solving in a real world setting can change student’s lives.
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