Over the last year I have really struggled with giving over my ‘control’ of knowledge within my classroom, opting for exploration, discovery, and student-uncovered information over directly given, textbook knowledge. It has been very difficult at times, but also extremely rewarding. I have grown so much in my practice over the past year, and I can know work with students to develop ‘experts’ AND have also gotten over the fear of having students know more than I do. There is always something I can teach students, even if it is asking them to consider a new perspective; there is also always something I can learn from students, and that has taken me almost 5 years of teaching to learn.
Nobody likes a know it all. I have learned this the hard way (because I was kind of [ok I was REALLY] a know it all when I was younger) and being on the other side I can see WHY. As a physics teacher, I used to find it EXTREMELY frustrating when people would attempt to ‘know more physics’ than I did. I mean, I was the one with the degree, what could they possibly teach me?
“In our youth we learn, as we age we understand.” – Criminal Minds
I was SO wrong. One of my favourite things about physics (now) is that it is a hobby for SO many people (students included). I am learning new things everyday from EVERYONE (especially since physics is everywhere); people may not even realize we are having a conversation about physics, but that’s where my head is. It absolutely makes my day when I have past students, or friends, who are not actively involved in a ‘typically’ physics based profession send me articles about the new findings in the world.
Now that I recognize this ‘hobby’ and leisure as a benefit (and not an annoyance), I am struck with wondering how to instill it in my practice? How can I alter my teaching to get students to see the interesting side of physics today? How can I show them that even without a complex understanding of calculus, anyone can appreciate physics (and its new discoveries)? How can I show students that physics can be more than simply an area of study?