Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Changing Subjects

In August I will begin my fifth year of teaching sixth grade. I love my job. I enjoying spending each day with energetic, quirky, and lovable students. It is a privilege to be able to lead my class as we explore and learn about life together.

The previous four years I have taught math, reading, writing, and social studies. This year I will keep the core subjects and switch out social studies for science.

While I am intrigued by science I would be remiss not to mention my sadness at losing my social studies classes. In sixth grade we explore the ancient civilizations and it is a blast. I will miss uncovering the ancient mysteries and retelling awesome stories of those who came before us.

Transitioning to science this summer has been an exciting and humbling process. Exciting because of the new challenges and interesting content. Humbling because it has highlighted what I don’t know. I have a basic understanding of these topics and could pass a test. Yet, to teach something well one must possess a far deeper understanding and fluency with the topic.

Luckily, I am in a profession that affords me the opportunity to spend the summer learning and exploring. So, I have devoted time this summer to deepening my understanding of science. So far I have found some great science blogs, read a handful of science books, watched a couple of documentaries, and sought the wisdom of those with experience teaching science. I am beginning to get to that deeper level but I still have so much to learn.

I hope to model this attitude of not knowing everything and seeking knowledge with my class in the fall.

I would love to hear your advice - what is your one nugget of wisdom for a beginning science teacher?

1 comment:

  1. My one tiny nugget of information re. teaching science is: Science is a verb.
    (or at least it SHOULD be!)
    I see SO many teachers destroy a student's curiosity by not allowing them to mess about and try stuff and touch stuff and make stuff. Instead, they "deliver content", and expect the kids to be interested and excited. I'm in Ontario, so I don't know your Gr. 6 science curriculum, but I hope it allows for students to do and make stuff. Don't tell them how to do it... tell them what you want them to figure out, and then get out of the way, and see what happens. That's my nugget. Science is a verb. I don't officially teach science anymore, but I support lots of teachers in my librarian role, and I cringe when I see the light go out of students eyes when they don't do anything except read about other people's discoveries.