Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Last Friday, I was a Science teacher!

One of the really exciting things about teaching where I do is the blended learning.  What this means is that although I am an English teacher, each of our modules is constructed and taught with a co-teacher from completely another subject area.  Not only does this mean that I get to work alongside some very cool and clever people, it also means that I get to actually do things in that subject area too.

Last semester I learned more about the Treaty of Waitangi from my Social Science colleague than I have learned in the whole rest of my life combined, and I got to design and build stuff and make concrete (yay!) with two of my technology colleagues.  This semester I am working with a geographer, a phys-eder, and a chemist; we will be filming, making a fitness trail, and writing speculative fiction. None of this is stuff that I would even imagine doing in a traditional context!

But last Friday my science colleague was away.  We had a great lesson planned with some scientific history (my bit) and an experiment (his bit).  I could quite happily have made a class of mostly the English component, but my colleague asked me whether, if he got everything organised, I might be able to run the experiment.

Don't get me wrong, it is not that I am completely ungifted in this area; after all, I did pass 7th form Chemistry all those years ago.  By two marks, but that's still a pass.  However, doing anything with a practical component in the classroom is not something I feel at all confident in.

So of course, I said yes, I'll do it.

And I did.  I ran that science lesson, and that experiment, all by myself.  We didn't blow anything up, or melt anything (both of which were possibilities) and we even got some results! What's more, the results were the type of results we should have got.  Goodness, I must have done something right. I even had a student tell me that they enjoyed the class!

O, the relief!  But also the sense of achievement. I was totally outside my comfort zone and not at all confident that I could make it work.  

That's what I really like about my teaching (and my job) now; I am always doing new stuff, not just recycling the old, and that makes teaching exciting. Teaching should be exciting. If teaching is exciting, learning will be happening, both for me and the students.  

We certainly all learned stuff last Friday.