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My Reflections on Summer 2008

jrlewis's picture

I cam to Bryn Mawr College with the goal of obtaining an education that would enable me to be a successful high school chemistry teacher.  In my first three years, I completed a chemistry major.  So fascinated by the science I failed to take more than two education courses. 

This summer was a wonderful complement to my past scientific experience.  In the beginning of the internship, I spent my time contemplating philosophies of education, what issues they could successfully address and where they were weaker.  I reconsidered my previous course work in terms of the teacher’s goals and pedagogical approaches.  During this time, I thought about what elements of courses I wanted to emulate or modify.  After considering my more meaningful classes, I began to consider my own educational philosophy. 

One of the most significant thoughts I had was that a teacher should have both a breadth and depth of knowledge about their subject.  I found that myself lacking in the area of applications, metaphors, and scientific stories about chemistry.  Therefore, I decided to declare a biology major to broaden my knowledge of chemistry.  I hope that my second major will help me place my chemical knowledge in a more general and meaningful context. 

During the second half of the internship, I attended, facilitated, participated, and critiqued the summer institutes.  My critiques are posted earlier in this blog.  These programs provided me with an opportunity to interact with a variety of teachers.  Especially significant is the fact that a majority of the teachers were from public schools.  Most of my prior experience was with the teachers from my own private school education.  I began to realize how different the two types of education are.  What became apparent to me this summer is that there are limitations to both approaches.  As a result of my involvement with the institute, I now have a better-balanced understanding of teachers and teaching science in this part of Pennsylvania.