Every once in a while I get the idea that I’d make a great science teacher. I have a great background for it, having worked in microbiology, forensic DNA analysis, and medical genetics.
From time to time, the fond memories of some of my favorite science class experiences come into my head:
My 8th grade science teacher, Mr P, inspired me first in science. I ended up choosing for my science fair project Rollercoaster Physics and used a hot wheels race car track to show demonstrate the forces at work needed to keep the car on track when they looped in a circle. It got first place in the school fair and I was able to go to the state finals and got second place there.
Then I was encouraged by my high school biology teacher, another Mr. P, to join the Scholastic Bowl. It was an academic quiz competition and we participated in tournaments among other high schools. Of course, there were the math and history specialists, but I did really well in the science areas. I also got the highest score in biology for the National Science Olympiad in the school. It was pretty neat.
You can say when it came to science, I was fairly consumed by it and while I never had a competitive bone in my body when it came to sports, when it came to science, I was thrilled by the possibility of winning.
In college, I focused on biotechnology, because it had the most hands-on labs. I loved my summer intensive course on microtechnique-where we learned to mount mouse organs in paraffin and make slices using a microtome. I also loved the microbiology labs where we played with bacteria and molds and the biotech lab where we DNA typed our own cheeks cells and karyotyped our chromosomes.
From time to time, I get this pull towards teaching. Especially when I do science experiments with my kids, like I do at my other blog The Exploration Station. And I think I’d make a fantastic and inspirational science teacher. I don’t know of any of my science teachers in elementary school or high school that actually worked in the fields they taught. I have such enthusiasm for my field, that I think I’d be really good at inspiring kids to go into science.
Every once in a while, I really get excited about the prospect of teaching. The biggest drawback, the bureaucracy of public schools and the lack of effort on the kids these days and the parents who make excuses for their kids who don’t want to work hard in school.
I have a sister and two friends who are teachers in the public school system. Not one of them really speak highly of what they are doing, now that they have been doing it for 10+ years. They only speak of the amount of grading they have to do after teaching kids who don’t want to learn and having PT conferences with parents who blame them for their kids not learning. Of course, it’s gen elementary teachers who teach under 5th grade, so they don’t specialize in one thing. And that’s all they’ve ever done.
A friend of ours who studied engineering in college ended up working for a while, then some time after having her kids, decided to become a high school math teacher. She complains a little too. In fact, it worries me quite a bit that more teachers than not complain about their classes. I have had some positive feedback from two elementary school teachers – my daughter’s kindergarten and first grade teacher, who still seem to have retained their enthusiasm for their jobs after being in it for a number of years. But I’m afraid they might be in the minority.
Still, I have this idea in my head that I can reach some kids and inspire and encourage them like my science teachers inspired and encouraged me. In my head, it all plays out pretty well. In reality though, I worry about making a huge mistake and having my ideals be trampled by bureaucracy and my enthusiasm for science being snuffed out.
This is where I wish I knew the homeschooling circles around here or wish there was alternative educational choices nearby. I have been told on a mother’s message board a while back that they were looking for a science teacher for their charter school and my background would make me an excellent candidate.
I don’t know what to do. I’d hate to spend the money on going for my teaching certificate if I’m going to end up hating it when I have to jump through the hoops and play by the rules and be constrained by the system. But I also hate the idea of turning away from a dream I’ve had for a while (being the kick-ass cool science teacher that everyone hopes they get in school).
Any thoughts out there?