Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My plight to become a poor science teacher

Last night, I went to my second night of astronomy. I was really excited about this course at first, but so far, I have been less than impressed. The class is a mix of adult learners (some seeking prereqs for master's programs, like myself), high school PSEO students, and your garden variety community college student. I have noticed a lot of army decals and veteran's plates in the parking lot too. You would think that with such a variety of learners, the prof might put a little effort into engaging her audience. Nope. Not only is she terribly dry, but she totally lacks time management skills, so we are already a whole chapter behind...and it's only week 2. In addition to the challenge of staying awake, I am finding it somewhat difficult to learn about these very large, very 3-dimensional concepts using only my very 2-dimensional textbook. Did you know that a first quarter moon in MN (which looks like a "D"), looks like a third-quarter moon (which looks like a backwards "D") in the southern hemisphere!?! My professor actually told us that she has no idea what the astronomy textbooks look like in the southern hemisphere, because everything must be opposite. Tricky stuff. Wish I could get my brain to engage. It's kind of hard to get myself to learn physics from a dull prof, on a Monday night, after being at work for nine hours. If I was good at physics, I would have majored in physics, instead of biology. Darn you, Minnesota State Board of Teaching!

So, this morning, I awoke feeling a bit discouraged about the year ahead. A year of pre-requisite courses from various community colleges. A year of the LSU "Distance-Learning" program. A whole year of forking out more money for undergraduate courses, just so I can continue to work toward my masters. A year of three separate physics courses - barf. I looked in the mirror and thought about what I was doing. Did I really want to become a science teacher? Is this really what I'm supposed to be doing?

...and then a tiny little fruit fly buzzed by my face and landed on the mirror. I looked at it and immediately identified it as being a wild type Drosophila melanogaster. The red eyes were a dead giveaway. I thought about how the entire genome for that little bug had been mapped out and studied by millions. I then I realized that I had just answered my own question. Yep, brush your teeth Kate. It's time to go to work so you can pay for all those classes. And tonight when you get home, it's time for geology. Get after it.

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