TEACHING TEACHERS? TIDBITS FROM OUR MENU FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS
During road trips, participants cooperatively developed multiple lesson plans based on observations and materials collected, integrating those new lessons into their existing course scheme. The geologist / master teacher / curriculum development specialist encouraged imaginative approaches. An unexpected development from these programs was a camaraderie and mutual support system among teachers.
Success? We began receiving requests for additional content-oriented workshops and road trips, requests that continue 30 years later. Why? Because of a dedicated, knowledgeable, imaginative, and approachable instructional staff, a must in multidisciplinary, hands-on, field-based teacher in-service programs, where lesson plans are developed on site; staff who excel in follow-up.
Academic, industry, and business support is another item that led to our success. Via the UNC-Charlotte Math / Science Education Center, we developed / offered courses specific for our teachers, along with graduate credit. Other support was provided by such institutions as, the University of Puerto Rico, New Mexico State University, and the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. Geology-related industries, such as Martin Marietta provided access to their quarries, and unlimited collecting.
Funding was not always easy to obtain. One has to actively search for funds via State & Federal Grants processes, support from industry, and often individual school systems.
We also had “hook”. A local middle school science teacher in rural Stanly County NC made a unique discovery, a fossil where conventional wisdom said there were no fossils. What is your “hook”?