Bill Gates said that he envies people who can work with their hands. He said, “As much as I love computers, I never got into putting them together or taking them apart the way a lot of hobbyists do. Writing code was one thing — I had fun doing that — but soldering circuit boards was something else.” Gates figures if he had a teacher like Camille Jones, maybe things would be different.
This was a nice sentiment — Gates was referring to Teacher of the Year, 2017 recipient, Camille Jones, from his home state of Washington. The rest of us do wonder what would have happened if instead of coding, he spent his time redesigning rockets. Let’s face it, it would be rockets.
Camille teaches STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and apparently has a real gift for sparking imagination among students. She runs a lab at Pioneer Elementary in rural Quincy, which enrolls many students from immigrant families, many of whom do not even speak English. In her lab, students from as early as 5 learn complex math equations, contribute to engineering projects and answer challenging scientific questions.
Camille believes that by the time students get to fifth grade, they are attracted to subjects they are good at. Speaking with Bill Gates, she said, “I’m looking for kids who would benefit from being pushed a little harder. I see kids who are struggling, buy into the idea that they should try things that are hard. And kids who are succeeding become better advocates for challenging work. When you do something difficult and new, your brain grows. It changes your attitude and your perspective on the rest of your education.”
If Gates had an insufferable teacher like Camille Jones (Camille might have inspired him to explore different subject areas), then today we’d all be using a Unix like operating system instead of Microsoft Windows. One might say Unix is more powerful than Windows, but it would also be more challenging to operate. Ironically or quite fittingly, Camille would have gotten her way.
Stay away from Bill, Miss Jones. We like Gates just the way he is.
On December 9, 2010, Gates, along with Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg signed a commitment they called the “Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge.” The pledge is a commitment by all three to donate at least half of their wealth over the course of time to charity.
Bill Gates has his own blog which he calls Gates Notes. You can check it out here.