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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Staying excited by your subject

I write this while in the middle of a massive day of procrastination which I have cunningly disguised as illness (its is 2:30 pm and I am still in pjs!). In truth I have been considering this and how to word it as a piece of advice for a while but have always felt it is something that we in practical subjects can showcase more. Yes I am aware that is a massive sentence. Yes I am aware I need to explain myself more. Did I mention I was ill?

By ill I mean I have a sore throat.

Anyways the buzz following my 'demonstration' with the Bunsen burner (should be Faraday burner) and Van der Graaf generator (still need to see if they were a good band or not) has just about abated  Although students keep trying to get me to 'dance' again. Which is a weird situation to be in.

Before I get any more distracted let me get back on track with what I am trying to say. I have noticed that colleagues of mine as well as yours truly are very excited by our subject - which you would expect we are all geeky science types after all. However the point of this blog is do we show it?

I know I do, in small experiments and demonstrations and showcasing new science discoveries - which always seem to be relevant to what I am teaching - with my classes. This I feel is a great way of making science current and relevant. A physics teacher at our school recently produced and excellent display of the physics of angry birds which is epic on a grand scale. She claims there is more to add to it but I will share a picture of it when she has completed it (with her permission naturally).

Another colleague is in the process of planning a series of murals to brighten up our fairly drab science labs. I imagine the opportunity for students to paint the science rooms will be too good for most of them to resist and as a result they will jump at the chance help out.

The reason I use these two examples is that being excited by your subject isn't just in doing the subject it is in the way your share it and the learning that can create.

For example my other half is a primary school teacher and her class are currently doing Greek myths. As part of this she is sharing a modern take on the Greek myth (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) and have gotten her students to write their own myths to very good effect.

I honestly think that in a world where everything is happening quicker and instantaneous knowledge of gratification is more and more the accepted norm, you have to show your students that your subject is important by displaying why it is important to you first and foremost.

There will always be classes who just want to get through school as quickly as possible because it is an inconvenience to them. However I do honestly believe that a lot of students who leave primary school keen and able very quickly loose that want to learn and engage because teachers don't seem excited by their subject anymore. It is hard and the demands of the job are increasing day by day but in my (limited) experience the best teachers I have come across are the ones who gather students up in their enthusiasm for their subject time and time again.

If none of what I have said makes sense or you don't agree with me well I will put it down to my being ill.

Off to mark some tests and time lapse a resurrection fern unfolding, because I am that cool!

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