How I became a physics educator (part 1 of ?)

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When I was in elementary school I always wanted to teach. From the time I was in first grade, I knew that I was going to be a teacher – I just didn’t know what that meant or involved. (Okay, I also wanted to be a writer, and a marine biologist, but it was the early 90s – who didn’t?). I think that part of what appealed to me was the perceived sense of authority that teachers had, as well as their seemingly limitless understanding and knowledge. Perhaps I was something of a know-it-all as a kid?

In middle school my career ambition shifted and I became convinced that I was going to be a writer. I wrote poetry on the back of all my math tests – which I finished before everyone else. I wrote really bad science fiction short stories. I read so much fantasy and science fiction at that time, I was certain that I could create worlds that would bend physical laws and defy what is possible. Unfortunately my character creation was slightly lacking. By the time I got to high school I had returned to an interest in teaching, but now I was certain that I wanted to be a high school teacher.

I explored my interest in teaching during high school by getting involved with an after-school program to tutor middle school students. I loved working with the kids in that program and I also received some much-needed mentorship from the staff that ran the program. Having the moments when a student would express that they finally understood something thrilled me, and I enjoyed making connections with the students in the program. By the time I went to college I was set in my desire to teach – and I even knew that I wanted to teach physics (but that’s a story for another post).

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