In addition to spending my summer with the MSU STEM program, I also teach summer enrichment with a non-for-profit organization that I volunteer with during the year. When generating classroom norms with my students a couple weeks back, I decided to add “Trust the process” as a norm. I planned on integrating conversation roundtable with my students and an art component to our science instruction because my sub (while I’m STEMing it up) is my talented art teacher co-worker. I was anticipating the push back because engaging in conversation roundtable fifty percent of a class period or more is not my students’ norm let alone creating a two week long 3-D modeling/ diorama project.
Six days into the STEM fellowship program I find myself constantly reminding myself to trust the process. I took an improv class today with Second City for crying out loud!!!
Currently I’m working on organizing my thoughts, professional learning, peer interactions, prior knowledge, current tech abilities, and fellowship coursework that will be completed in a twelve month period. In only six out of the ten day face to face days of the course, it amazes me how much I have learned, how many tech related products my team and I have created, and my new found understanding of STEM. My colleagues are talented humans with expertise in chemical engineering, computer engineering, graphic design, psychology, chemistry, education, electrical engineering, and I’m ecstatic for the opportunity to learn with them and to publicly share our learning.
I’ve been a science teacher for a few years, but I felt like I spent much of my career in the cloud. My undergraduate elementary specialization was in language arts, however my science endorsement is what got me my teaching job. I’d never tell my kids this, but I’ve thought of myself as a ELA teacher trapped in a science teacher’s body.
Science Endorsement ≠ Scientist?
The last four years have consisted of me being trapped in a web of trial and error, improving my way through learning to teach science, meeting the needs of my students, fostering critical thinking, sorting out my personal misconceptions as well as my students’ and encouraging science instruction in primary and intermediate classrooms.
After six days of learning, I have realized that teaching is a science. It is messy. It is collaborative. It requires critical thinking and inquiry. There is not one clear cut solution. It is emotional. It is analytical. It is personal. It builds on prior knowledge. It is innovative.
Maybe I’m a scientist after all.