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Arete

Science Teachers, please don't do this

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Monday is not even done and I've just got my 7th "I need to interview a university professor for my school project" email. As one educator to another - I have a research lab to run, 160 of my own students to teach, a crapload of "service" duties, oh and a family outside of work to spend time with. I don't have time to talk to each of your students individually, so I'm going to end up ignoring their emails.

 

On the other hand, a local teacher did something different. She organized 4 scientists from industry and academia to participate in a panel discussion with all 250 students from her high school. We spent an hour answering questions from the audience, followed by a "mixer" event where we engaged with students informally to talk about science, science careers, college, life, etc. It was vastly more impactful for the students, a vastly better use of my time, and ultimately a much more valuable task than any BS "interview" project I've ever encountered.

 

I know it's more work, but please do this instead of assigning your students an "interview a science professor" task.

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In the UK we have a stem ambassador programme which people and organisations sign up to it makes it easier for schools to just contact an organisation and get someone to come talk to them about stem. I'm not an ambassador but several of my friends are and it seems to work quite well.

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I am sorry to hear about your excessive workload. I have also invited scientists into school to work with the children who appreciated the new input and were very friendly towards the PhD (normally a final year student who wanted an experience of teaching). Hope your second idea prevails in the future as a general model of behaviour.

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My mother was a teacher and so if I ever was to be a teacher I made a gameplan with myself of what it would be. Colleges tend to be more lax and allow teachers more power in creating custom courses. So I would basically just lecture and email my students, but only do a couple quizzes and I would give real life problems for students to solve on their own (such as, build a vehicle that must pass the performance requirements, lego robot, etc.) If a college made me follow a dogma and rigid course setup I would not try to teach there.

Edited by quickquestion

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