Exploring the infamous room of Mr. Millard’s Computer Science class
The room is bustling with chatter, kids on their phones, messing around on their computers. That is until “the GOAT Mr. Millard,” as Revant Patel (11) calls him, walks into the classroom.
“A lotta kids have Fortnite loaded on their screens and that’ll get you in a whole lotta trouble,” one student says. “Anyway, d’you wanna see how many wins I got?”
Unfortunately, when you give a full class a batch of computers, they’re bound to fall into their own dimwitted antics, unplugging monitors, accessing random websites, or dialing prank calls during instruction. Nevertheless, given the circumstances, Mr. Millard does well keeping his students in line. Most of the time, the class is focused under his presence.
Desktops line the walls and kids sit by their assigned computer during work time. On one side of the class, there are focused students, staring deep into their computer screen. Perhaps they’re doing work! And on the other, well, that’s a bit complicated…
But despite the occasional class misbehavior, the students are still taught what they must. Whether they pay attention or not, the class teaches a critical subject: Computer Science Principles.
“To be honest with you, it’s gotten a lot better in the past few years,” Mr. Millard tells me. “It’s an important class. Well, young people [might] think Computer Science is all about programming. But ultimately, it’s about learning to solve problems through computation.”
They go over the inner workings of how computers work from a theoretical standpoint to prepare them for Digital Electronics (another course that Mr. Millard teaches), which covers the physical component. But Mr. Millard’s class is specifically designed to emulate the Introductory Computer Science classes in college.
“Last year, a student came and told me he’d do really well in this class since he already took the AP exam and got a five,” Mr. Millard continues. “But I guarantee you that what you need there is only a fraction of what you’ll learn here.”
He expands beyond the College Board curriculum, citing that the original course is a bit subpar in its level of required academic rigor in order to truly resemble a college-level class.
“If the students aren’t struggling, then they aren’t learning,” says Mr. Millard.
Regardless of the difficulties, students still claim to be satisfied with the required academic rigor.
“Yeah, no, for real,” Preet Karia (11) says. “We learn a lot in this class.”
“Last class, I learned how to make a website,” Aayush Kumbhare (11) adds. “And that’s a really important skill.”
But once the dust settles and the students get back to their seats, what remains is not a class, but a community. Centered around the guiding presence of Mr. Millard. There’s even a subreddit dedicated to his name, although he’s only been made aware of this recently.
Once they see my camera, some students stand for pictures. Behind Mr. Millard, a couple students including Nakul Sharma (11), Aayush Kumbhare (11), and Revant Patel (11) pose with thumbs up and arms around one another. Revant Patel is about to hug Mr. Millard, but refrains from physical contact. The camera clicks and the photo shows Millard’s grumpy, but accepting face. The next photo shows him smiling.
Before I leave, I say thanks to Mr. Millard, but he’s too busy talking with a student to heed my goodbyes. And I step out the door and leave waving students behind me. What remains with me now is a dotty little photograph of old Mr. Millard and his merry class of seedy students.
From Left to Right: Aayush Kumbhare (11), Revant Patel (11), and Nakul Sharma (11) with Mr. Millard