Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A day in the life

Been busy, as we all have been, and maybe a tad cranky, as some of us have been.

And when I get busy and cranky, I forget what I should not forget. All of this happened in a day, this day, and this was not an unusual day.

  • I found 3 northern brown snakes this morning, and brought one of them to school, possibly the crankiest brown snake I've ever handled, and I've handled plenty. When I released him this afternoon, he struck not once, not twice, but three times. A snake with a grudge.
  • I dug up a dandelion to show seniors its roots, and an earthworm scurried under my fingers as I did. The seniors were outside looking at dandelion flowers more carefully than most of them ever had before, so I looked more carefully, too.
  • One class witnessed what happens when a slug crawls on the head of a cranky snake. It happens fast, and it does not end well for a slug.
  • I watched a young woman watch a slug as it crawled on her finger. If we spent more time watching how young humans react with the world, we'd all feel better,
  • I peeked at a drop of pond water I brought to class yesterday--it was full of critters. Most of them were returned to the pond water.
  • We released some more fruit flies today--the kids are growing attached to them now. They're not "flies" anymore. Familiarity may occasionally breed contempt, but my experience has been otherwise. It's why I teach.
  • A few of us in the BHS Astronomy Club set up a telescope on the sidewalk outside our school and saw Saturn tonight, always a treat, and a great way to end a day teaching science.

None of this will be "on the test," whatever "on the test" even means. I worry a lot, too much, on what is "on the test." The AP Biology test looms in less than two weeks, the state biology exam a couple of weeks later.

Not sure the students are quite as worried as I am--maybe I need to learn a thing or two from them.

Yep, it's a wonderful world out there beyond the words and images we wrap around ourselves every day.


Jenny said...

I took my class out to our garden for the first time yesterday. I gave them each spades and told them where they could dig. That's all they did, dig. They were amazed at the changes in the dirt, at the roots of the weeds, and at the little critters crawling around in the dirt. It was beautiful.

Mary Ann Reilly said...

I always appreciated reading your words. Imagine in another life, Michael, you were a man of letters. Observation is such a powerful method of coming to know, to question, to wonder...Making time to ensure that students come to know the earth in meaningful ways is biology and hopefully education. I'm not sure how you can be a teacher of biology in NJ and not have "THE TEST" on your mind,. T.S. Eliot said, "April is the cruelest month." We might want to amend that and now say, May.

Thanks for helping me to remember what is most important.

Kathryn J said...

I love this post! I need to find a way to get my students outside more. When I asked permission in the fall for just a trip around school grounds, it was denied. Our school is in a small city park so there is a bit of greenery.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

"That's all they did, dig"--gladdens my heart anytime another pod of kids digs into the earth.

I'm still amazed by the changes, every time I sink my fingers into the ground.

Dear Mary Ann,

Thank you for the kind words.

THE TEST is on my mind, especially as we approach the date, but I work under a wonderful supervisor who encourages us to keep teaching what matters, and trusts that our students will do well anyway.

Dear Kathryn,

Keep pushing it--maybe get a parent or two invested in this. It pays tremendous dividends (as you already know....)