August 12, 2013

More than Just Educating

By James Seager, Program Intern

When I was accepted into the internship program at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, I thought it would be a simple summer job and a great resume builder, but I never expected to learn as much as I have in such a short time. I am currently getting my degree in Secondary Education-Biology at Husson University, hoping to one day become a high school biology teacher in New Hampshire. This internship has taught me that being knowledgeable about something means much more than just educating people about what you know, but rather getting those people excited and wanting to learn more on their own once they leave your classroom.

At Squam Lakes Natural Science Center there are many great and hardworking educators that make the Science Center the fun and information rich place that people have come to know and really enjoy. Everyday these experienced educators arrive early to get a start on planning, preparing, and reviewing for their programs they have throughout the day. Whether it’s a mini-talk, lake cruise, or outreach program, every educator has their own style of sharing their information on the natural world with the public, which never fails in creating that excitement and curiosity for all the visitors. It seems that no matter what mammal, raptor, or reptile any of the educators are going to speak about they always know exactly how to approach it and what the public are going to be interested in hearing about. Some of the education staff has been here for over 10-15 years educating the public about our natural world, yet each day they carry the same enthusiasm and interest about the program they are working with and pass that energy onto the public. The amount of time to research, understand and be comfortable working with all these animals takes a very long time, which is why the education staff here at the Science Center does so much more than just educating.

Being able to observe and learn the multiple teaching styles presented by each educator, I have been able to develop my own style of educating the public on a range of different animals. Having this internship has been one of the best experiences in not only my pursuit to become a great teacher, but for me and my confidence. During my time here I worked with a large range of animals, interacted with people from around the country, and spent lots of time doing research and expanding my knowledge of the natural world. I have learned that wanting to be an educator takes much more time outside of the classroom to do research, paperwork, and practice lesson plans so when it is time to educate a group of people I am confident, while enjoying the work I do. One of the most important things I will take away from this internship is that fact that you should enjoy what you are doing every day or it’s simply not worth it. At the Science Center all the staff always seems to be interested and wanting to learn more about what they can do to make the public’s experience here more fulfilling, which is how I want to approach my teaching career when educating the young minds of the future.

 The experience I have gained here during my internship is one that I will carry with me the rest of my life. Thanks to the education staff and everyone else at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, I now have the confidence and experience in educating people as well as the knowledge of the time and hard work it takes to make a great lesson plan, which is something I will use throughout my teaching career.

No comments: