When I was little, we lived in a small condo in the suburbs of Washington, DC. My parents worked often, but I always remember my parents pulling out books for us to read, and workbooks for us to practice math problems in. Once we finished all the books in the house, my parents would take us to our local library. On Saturdays, my parents would emerge from the aisles with their stacks and sit and read, and my brothers and I would find pillows in the children’s section as we pored over exciting covers and opened book after book.
Something that I find unique about education is that each semester, or year, where we have new students, is like a book. There is a clear epilogue where we learn our students’ names and personalities, a middle where struggles are met and faced, characters develop and as it comes to an end, there is a closure as we bid our students farewell, but their stories continue beyond the walls of the classroom.
My fellowship experience has encouraged me to lean into my brand and personality in efforts to develop an authentic and engaging experience. Something I started was a short five minute presentation on Fridays – something called Freaky Fridays – where I find something intriguing, fascinating or thought provoking to share with my students. During my fellowship, I was always learning. I learned about subdominant males, and how fish can change their sex, and I attended Bio Lunch where I learned about new and emerging research. I wanted to spark the same curiosity in my students by sharing in just five minutes technology that was being developed, or a genetics trait that can be passed on, or just something fascinating. We’ve seen Atlas, the Boston Dynamics robot that can do a backflip, Hemingway’s polydactyl cats, a cyclops shark, among other things. It is one of my favorite things to show students what else is out there to learn and discover, and I hope that they continue to be curious even beyond the end of our chapter together.