Monday, October 5, 2015

A Poet Considers Teaching Physics

I have been spending an enormous amount of time this week-end contemplating teaching Physics.  I found myself with classes to staff after last week's lay-offs, and Physics has been the toughest.  Even if I could find a person, the length of the hiring process means I would still be teaching the class from week 1 to week 2 or 3--that practically a quarter of the class.

As Friday shifted to Saturday, I couldn't sleep.  I thought about the logistics of teaching Physics.  I can easily teach some aspects, but some, like electricity, are harder.  And then I thought, why not bring in guest lecturers?

Many of our faculty are like me:  I can teach a class or two, but not the whole quarter's worth.  Maybe they'd be willing to come in to do a lecture.  Maybe I can even pay them, if they're in the system.

I watched the moon rise as I contemplated teaching Physics.  I thought about the scene as I would present it in a poem or a piece of fiction.  I thought about how the moon has always risen and set, as our human dramas go on.  I tried to sleep, but I couldn't.

On Saturday, I went to the public library to check out some books.  Yes, one of them was Physics for Dummies.  I was astonished to see how many science experiment books exist, along with lots of books to help teachers/parents/students prepare science fair projects.  Yes, I will be checking out those books eventually, if I follow my plan.

I've also been thinking of the first time I taught Scriptwriting for Games.  I knew that I had several classes worth of materials, and I wasn't sure about the rest.  Luckily, I had a great group of students, and they unwittingly helped teach the class.  It was some of the most spirited discussion of creativity and writing and crafting alternate worlds as any I have ever had.

Maybe my Physics class will be the same.

On Sunday, we joined my brother-in-law and his wife for a motorcycle ride through the Keys.  I leaned back and watched the clouds move across the sky.  I thought of waves and currents and how I'd teach that.  I planned out my first week or two or three of classes, as the ride went on.  It was one of the first times during the week-end where I thought, yes, I really could do this.

During the wee small hours of the morning on Saturday, I wrote a Facebook message to a friend.  We're thinking of going to see The Martian, and I joked about being a new Physics teacher and needing to see the movie.

She wrote back this encouragement, which I want to record here:  "And u will do great in physics; it is just like a fairy tale, a set of magic spells to understand and manipulate the universe!"

From her lips to the gods' ears, as we always say (she's Hindu, and it makes me smile when we say that old saying that way).

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

Maybe ask a working electrical engineer to come in and talk about circuits and electricity - that was always the easiest part of physics for me, because my dad was constantly talking about the physics of circuits in his robotics work. Sometimes people would be honored just to be asked, you never know!