Welcoming Ms. Blasko
by Shivani Nanda '23 for Silver Quest
A great teacher makes learning fun and incorporates engaging lessons into their curriculum. Nora Blasko (known as Ms. B), the new Fundamentals of Computer Science, Computational Methods, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) teacher, is doing exactly that.
Blasko moved from St. Mary's County, Maryland, where she taught computer science at her old high school. In contrast to living in St. Mary's where the Navy base is the focal point, “just being in Montgomery County [is] a big difference,” Blasko said.
One of her favorite aspects of teaching at Blair is the size of the CS department. Blasko appreciates that there are “a lot more teachers to collaborate with and [learn] from” and that they are always eager to help.
Another aspect of teaching that Blasko really loves is that it's very active. “It's about [what] the kids create and seeing what they do,” she said. As a teacher, she enjoys going through projects because she appreciates how each student approaches learning differently and loves to see what the students have accomplished, “especially [those] that really challenged themselves to get to the next level.”
Blasko's teaching philosophy is that “all kids are capable and all kids can learn.” More specifically, she enjoys the problem-solving aspect of computer science—one of her main reasons for being excited to teach Computational Methods and AI next semester! From her perspective, she looks at the field of computer science and wonders: “How can you use what you learn to solve a problem?”
Blasko finds that Python is her favorite unit to teach in her Fundamentals of Computer Science course because it’s generally easier for students to learn compared to Java. While teaching a Python sub-unit on Turtle, a Python graphics module, Blasko loves to see students express their creativity and have fun with their projects.
Despite only being in her first year at Blair, Blasko is already sponsoring three extracurricular activities: CyberPatriot Club, a club focused on preparing for a cybersecurity competition; Computer Team, a club focused on using algorithms and data structures to solve programming problems; and Code Girls, a club focused on introducing more female and nonbinary students to the field of computer science.
Blasko encourages students to try to be consistent with their work as well as take care of themselves. She hopes students will balance their schoolwork with what they do outside of school not only so they don't fall behind but also so they don't get stressed.
In her free time, Blasko enjoys nature by taking hikes. Blasko also noted that while she doesn't have a favorite TV show, she is a fan of sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory.” She also enjoys watching shows and movies that include the element of time travel.
Blasko says the first year is always a little bit rough, but she is happy to report that she has nothing to complain about and that things are looking good for her kickoff as a teacher at Blair. With her enthusiasm for teaching, Blasko proves to be another great addition to the Blair Magnet faculty.