(3:15 plus 18:10)
I’ll discuss my “summer work hours” at another time. I have been assigned to write a biographical sketch introducing myself to the members of the American Modeling Teachers Association, many of whom probably don’t know me. All of the current board members have been asked to do this, and this essay will be sent out to the AMTA online mailing list, which you receive if you are a member. So here it is:
I was a physics major in college and I knew all along that I wanted to become a teacher. I graduated in 1992, and I have been teaching physics since January, 1993. I taught for five and a half years in Philadelphia public schools. Jane Jackson recruited me for a modeling workshop when I attended a summer AAPT meeting at University of Maryland, and I took modeling workshops in 1997 and 1998. These workshops were at University of Wisconsin-River Falls and were led by Rex Rice and Dave Braunschweig.
As with many, my life was changed by Modeling Instruction. I felt like I had discovered the way I wanted to teach, I just hadn’t figured it out before. Also, I was amazed by how much physics I learned at the workshops! Though I loved using Modeling Instruction, the situation in my school was taking its toll. I decided I had to leave Philadelphia or leave teaching.
After leaving Philadelphia schools, I have been teaching in various suburban districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I love my current school, and I have great colleagues, but only one of my colleagues is also a Modeler (though we have four full-time physics teachers in my building). I have used Modeling Instruction with kids in conceptual classes, honors classes, and in-between, and from a variety of socio-economic levels.
I joined the AMTA board last year as Vice President, and am currently the President-Elect. I feel very strongly that the work of AMTA is important for keeping Modeling Instruction alive and growing and funded, unlike previous worthy programs that were not self-sustaining (IPS, PSSC, Project Physics, etc). One way that to help this happen is through greater publicity. Most science teachers in my district have no idea what Modeling is, and when offered a 2-hour introduction on an inservice day, only two teachers (out of over 40 high school science teachers) came to the session – the rest chose other sessions. Not only teachers need to know about Modeling Instruction, the word also needs to get out to the politicians, the parents, and the voting public.