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Stepping Outside the Mainstream

Today is the first day of school for our boys (I know, early right?!). It has been quite the journey leading to this day and I spent some time reflecting on it last night as I laid out clothes and carefully packed lunchboxes. As both a student and a teacher, the first day of school

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Summer Reading

After suffering through the semester from, well you know (see my last post here), I have not been inclined to do much reading or thinking about teaching. That said, I have read some interesting books during my summer break and I’d like to share them with you. When I get snippets of free time like

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Survival Mode

Hey there. Remember me? I’m that crazy biology professor that used to blog on this site. I just survived the semester from H-E-double hockey sticks. Survived is a good word for it. I can’t say that I was the most inspired educator this Spring. Creativity and ingenuity kindof went out the classroom window. Instead, I

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The trap of perfectionism

Early this morning, I woke from a nightmare. In the dream, I had landed a job at the university where I had done my PhD research. In this job, I was supposed to be teaching a large (300 students) lecture course in microbiology. This was the course that I had been a teaching assistant in

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Closing out the term- Reflecting on what worked and what failed miserably

Published on December 9, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Tomorrow is my last exam of the semester. Woohoo! Freedom! I’m not sure who’s more excited, me the professor, or my students. As always, it is a good idea to take some time to reflect and think about what has gone well this term and those things that probably should not be done again. The

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Highlights from NABT

Last week I had the great opportunity to attend the annual conference of the National Association of Biology Teachers in Atlanta. I learned a lot and was pretty overwhelmed by the end of each day. For my next few posts I want to spend a little time sharing some of my highlights from the experience.

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Ownership in education

How do we encourage our students to take ownership of their education? Over and over again I encounter students that want to sit passively in the classroom and receive knowledge. They expect me to tell them what they need to know and then the memorize the bare minimum necessary to pass the course. As soon

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Frustration

Published on October 30, 2013 by in Uncategorized

This morning we had a DNA extraction exercise in my Introductory Biology course. I asked my students where DNA is located in our cells (answer: the nucleus). They stared at me blankly. We are more than halfway through the semester and my students cannot answer that very basic question. Clearly there is something wrong with

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Every Student Has a Story

Published on October 23, 2013 by in Uncategorized

  All sorts of people walk into my classroom. One of the benefits of teaching is that you get to meet individuals that you might not otherwise encounter. This brings a richness to my own life for which I am incredibly grateful. Each person carries with them their own life experiences and their own burdens.

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Failure is an Option

I honestly want to be the best teacher that I can be. It truly pains me when students fail or withdraw from my courses. This week two students dropped one of my courses, and there are others that haven’t showed up for several classes in a row. When this happens, I think it is important

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