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Reply To: Help please! Need sources for these quotes



Thanks for the vote of confidence . . .

My degree is in history – so naturally, over the years I’ve taught primarily English and literature, a fair share of math and science, but very little social studies or history (such is the field of education!). I can teach anything – even had to handle sex education on occasion . . .

Toward the end of my hitchhiking years, I’d earn a little income over winter substitute teaching (which is how I discovered I had a gift for teaching). A few upper level high school math teachers would regularly request me because then they didn’t have to come up with make-work or a video for their trigonometry, calculus, or quantitive analysis classes. As long as I’m in the classroom early enough ahead of time to review the previous day’s homework and the upcoming lesson in the textbook, I’d be able to correct the homework with the class and explain difficult problems, and then present the days’ lesson with examples. Often I’d be covering those classes for several days in a row, which was even better, as after the first day I’d have more time to prepare.

But teaching math isn’t as much fun as teaching other subjects.

Science is a joy to teach, in part because students learn by doing (I always love lab days – busy, fun, and interactive) . . .and then so much of teaching science involves story – locating the information I need to convey within a narrative that strikes a chord with the students’ own experiences of life.

A few years ago I covered junior high science classes for a few days for a dear friend (one of my favorite people to sub for) who had a teacher-in-training shadowing her. The student teacher assumed he’d have to step in and rescue me, since he knew the kids and I didn’t, and had seen other subs flounder.

Instead at the end of the day he expressed pleasant surprise at how I managed the classroom and taught the lesson through storytelling – a lesson he later told me he shared with his classmates doing teacher credential coursework.

Of course, to do that successfully you need a mastery of the subject and a wealth of life experience (there is nothing quite like sharing an episode from one of my many hitchhiking treks to command teenagers’ attention – they react like I’m Daniel Boone, or maybe an astronaut, with a lifetime of exotic adventures of which they could barely conceive – and then suddenly we slide into the point I’m making or the lesson I intend to illustrate with my tale, and you can almost see the lightbulbs going off over their heads . . .)