Friday, August 22, 2008

being enthused



Roles change. In the beginning (at my present school) I taught life skills or functional academics, then in a major leap in equilibrium, I became horticulture guy. Now at the school I am introduced as the man who runs horticulture and teaches advance science.

I am well aware of my increase in enthusiasm these past days. Last year I taught physics (2nd time) and human anatomy (1st time). Physics was a breeze in high school then in college it knocked me for a loop for which I will for ever be recovering. And how exactly did I get a degree in Biology without a class on humans? I had way more BIO credits than needed but I was attracted to ecology.

One benefit of teaching where I work is I get questions like, "What science do you want to teach this year?" I wanted to teach biology. But I also added geology. Yes, make life more difficult by teaching something new.

Another benefit... text book choices. I decided to turn away from traditional texts that make eyes go foggy. So I searched on-line. Then in libraries. Then in bookstores (three this past weekend) including this survivor of the big chains in Doylestown, PA. Yesterday I covered our bed with books and went back on the computer trying to make final decisions.




I struggled with this decision more than I do with most. Maybe it was I had an idea of what I wanted to find and kept looking, but a decision had to be made and I did it.

Each class will have a book to cover the basics. But I also wanted the students to read from those who write well about science. The geology students will read John McPhee's Annals of the Former World which combines four of his books of traveling with geologists, including a look at the Delaware Water Gap which could be a long but cool field trip since we could stop at the Boulder Field at Hickory Run ... Here is a photo by Mr. Biggs called "mom goat" at his FLICKR photostream.

( "mom goat" a found photo by Mr Biggs at his FLICKR photostream)

For Biology I chose Anatomy of a Rose by Sharman Apt Russell which is a great book about the life of flowers, not just roses.

Anyway, I am being drawn into these classes. Yesterday I began reading the book sent to me by Loyola Press, A Well Built Faith. In an early chapter, Joe Paprocki compares folk who force relationships with God with those folk who are called by God. Things go better if not perfectly for the latter group. Something is happening here in my heart as I prepare with enthusiasm. I hope that it is arising from a call to teach on subjects for which I have passion and a desire that this will help me to become a better teacher. Speaking of which, I plan to introduce the biology students to birds. Flowers, birds, the land of Pennsylvania they are blessings that deserve my enthusiasm.

9 comments:

  1. I'm afraid my own schooling ended with my dad's death, mid-term my first year at UC aiming at an education in something I should never have attempted. A couple of languages learned in the Navy, but left to wither and die once I left the high seas. When our church started schooling our own, though, for two years I taught the upper grade levels, still possessing a love/knowledge of Algebra and an understanding of grammar that I tried my best to pass on kids that Kentucky's public system had left not knowing the difference between "are" and "our". You are way over my head with what you teach, but I'm betting it would be both fun and an educational treat to sit in one of your classes...

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  2. Jim--- are and our.... for years I was stuck whenever I tried to spell use, always wanted to start it with a y. You know... Where did yuse go last night?

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  3. I remember my mother trying to teach me the difference between marry, merry and Mary. Not a distinction my midwest ear could make easily!

    I love to teach something new - because it means learning something new. Hopefully with some other enthusiastic learners...

    May the new year be graced!

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  4. Michelle--- thanks for the blessing on my upcoming school year.

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  5. Teaching John McPhee - fabulous.

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  6. GG-- thanks for the affirmation on my choice. I truly want the students to experience folk who write well, and McPhee does in my opinion.

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  7. I've become a fan of your blog and posted a link on my blog to this post. I don't think trackbacks work from Wordpress to Blogspot so I thought I'd let you know.

    http://getrealscience.com/teacherkathrynj/2008/08/29/random-summer-musing/

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  8. OK so the link didn't post correctly but you should be able to use the link with my name.

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  9. Kathyryn--- thanks, I am glad to have you here.

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