Why Am I Here?
EDUC 454 D100 – Week 1 – May 9, 2017
This is the first reflection journal entry for the course EDUC 454 at SFU. I had promised my students that I would blog at the same time as they would and blog about the question posed. Before I do, I must say… it’s been an incredibly enjoyable class so far and I look forward to the next 12-weeks with them. So, why am I here?
First of all, I love teaching. It has taken me many years to realize that I love to teach. My first 16 years teaching secondary mathematics in public schools was challenging and rewarding. I did not realize that being a teacher meant being a learner. Looking back, I loved what I learned and because of that, I am here. 9-years ago, I enrolled in the Doctor of Education program at SFU. I now understand that I was ready to learn something new. It started as frustration in the system and transformed into a research question. The dissertation journey led me down a new path of learning.
I left teaching 6.5 years ago. I had to get out of the problem. I could not get to my research wholeheartedly. However, one thing I miss most of all about the practice is the opportunity to teach. Yes, I was tutoring mathematics, but there is something magical about teaching a group of students. In this case, I am teaching Educ 454… Quantitative Approaches to Environmental Education. Interesting topic. I taught Educ 471… Curriculum Theory and Practice in the fall but this is a bit of a switch.
I pondered for many months how to approach this course. I asked colleagues/friends in the field who teach science who I could approach this course. Furthermore, it’s a Q-course… meaning a “quantitative course.” What this means is that there is an element of MATH embedded in this course. Nice. What kind of math? How would I connect this to environmental education? How can I embed the principles of BC’s New Curriculum, Aboriginal Education, and my needs and wants into this course? This is why I LOVE TEACHING. This is the fun part. I love the creativity and problem solving.
Classic teaching… I was prepared for the first class. This entailed getting the logistics managed and to set the tone for the course. I was conflicted by the idea of providing a PowerPoint and going outside. Usually how I set the stage for myself is to give myself a framework and go with the flow. I want the students to embrace their learning too and I have to roll with them sometimes. We did go outside as everyone took their laptops and valuables with them. We played a game so that I could get to know them better. Truth… I forgot the title of the game… but it’s one that @MsVictoriaOlson facilitated at EdCamp35 years ago. Worked like a charm.
Boy did I get to learn more about these student teachers. First, their ages range from 22 to 44. Second, they are ALL secondary school teacher candidates. (This is sooooo nice. They are in my tribe, which changes my approach to the course completely. This was good to know.) Third, they had lots to say about the “homework”… and, many of them DO NOT LIKE MATH. Most of them enrolled into my course because they had to. Nice… but this changes my purpose as well. My goal: MATH IS FUN!!!
Considering that this group of teacher candidates were “required” to take this course, it has been absolutely amazing to interact with an engaged group of learners. There is no question that this course is going to be FUN to teach. I’m already getting that vibe. In turn, I hope the students will have fun learning in this class too.
Stay tuned for future reflections from Educ 454… I’ve already learned so much about this class and I am stoked about planning and prepping for future classes. I have decided to get outside more, make this course personally and professionally relevant, and math will be an integral part of this awesome Q-course at SFU. I am ready for this challenge. Teaching is learning. I cannot believe I have this opportunity to teach at SFU. I am so happy to be back in the classroom with this class. It’s truly a joy.