Pedagogy

I’m always concerned if an instructor knows the material – do I really know anything about the Earth?  For practical reasons and the benefit of the students, it would behoove me to enroll in at least one class this summer.

I want to be a high school instructor for Earth/Planetary science.  I have passed the state’s “qualification” tests, “possess” classroom experience and a bachelor degree.  I’m completing an application for “credential” program and can’t help but feel selfish and unqualified.  I was never enrolled in a geology science class in a college institution.  Instead, my science classes consisted of introductory biology and chemistry .  Oh.  The big one?  No private sector experience as a geologist, astronomer, meteorologist, etc.  My experiences only relate to journal articles that I’ve read for pleasure and documentaries.

I want the career that watches (or hope) our society grow.  I enjoy the feeling of being able to disseminate knowledge and making an impact on their life experiences.  Sometimes, I see myself as a role model and I believe I am absolutely capable to provide a positive one.  I also see myself as a instructor with high standards and will always demand the best from the students – I know they will benefit from hard work.  All of that is selfish because I desire to teach, despite my lack of academic and professional qualifications.

I could justify my insufficient knowledge/experience and claim that I will make a difference anyway.  But I won’t.  Taking one class is not going to meet my standards to qualify as a knowledgeable teacher; however, but it is one step closer.

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3 Comments on “Pedagogy”

  1. May 31, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    as long as you have motivation to teach students and help them learn/care for them, then it doesn’t matter if you take a class because either way you will force yourself to learn the material well enough so you can teach it.

    as long as you don’t lose this motivation then you have nothing to worry about.

    i taught my section (3rd, 4th year students) about climate change and wildlife conservation without any prior knowledge. i always had to keep on top of things and made sure i knew the material — and find material to talk about. do your best and your students will learn. just always be prepared.

  2. June 1, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    Daren’s right – the “source of all knowledge” is not academics, nor is it work in the profession (although the latter is more valuable than the former).

    Knowledge comes from interest and study. If your interest leads you to study the topic at hand, you’ll very shortly be qualified to teach it, because you STUDIED IT. Going through a university class (or classes) won’t qualify you – that just means you did enough to get a passing grade.

    INTEREST in the topic, and the subsequent study, will qualify you – whether that study is self-led (ie, you read everything you can find about it, and talk to people who know what’s what and make sure you understand it properly), or a university class, where you DEVOUR the subject matter, and get so into it you ask questions that make the instructor have to do more research to answer your questions. Either is perfectly valid.

    But don’t think the only way to honestly teach a subject is by being “certified” by some or other entity – all that means is passing their criteria, not necessarily understanding the subject matter.

    If you UNDERSTAND a subject, and know how to impart your understanding to others, you’re qualified to teach it. Period.

  3. June 1, 2009 at 4:54 am #

    Thanks gentleman.

    Sometimes I forget that degrees or certificates are just kindling.

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