NFR School for Teachers

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Gary Knowels, May 8, 2014.

  1. Some of you have met and know me while most have not. I wanted to share with you all the bit of great news that I received this week, but first a little back story.

    I'm 27 and have been out of college for 5 years. I was pre-med and majored in biochemistry. I applied to med school, was wait-listed, and then denied. During my preparation for a second application cycle I found fly fishing and had many important life experiences. This led me to the realization that a doctor's life was not for me. I had no doubt I could make it in and through medical school, but I didn't want to be on call and didn't want to work 60-70 hours every week for life. The only problem was that I had no clue what I wanted to do. All the while I was working as a scientist at UW, where I still am.

    Through luck and searching for extra income to pay for fly fishing, I stumbled in to a side job leading biodiversity fieldtrips for college freshmen. I got to choose and plan my trips, so of course we went to local rivers and looked at aquatic insects in all life stages. These trips and subsequent evaluations from students sparked the thought about teaching as a career. I really didn't know much about teaching so i set out to learn. I started getting up early and going to a local high school to volunteer in a biology classroom before going to work and loved it. I had fun helping the kids learn about the living world and was able to incorporate many of my passions, fly fishing, the natural world, scientific research, genetics, and just being in a social environment. After many hours in the classroom and talking to teachers and people in my life I figured out that teaching would be perfect for me. I know teaching isn't easy and that there are long hours involved in that profession as well, but a teachers schedule should allow for more recreation than a med student or resident's schedule would.

    It took a lot of work to prepare an application to a master's program, I had to take state board exams, take 20 college credits of science classes to fill out some holes left over in the admission requirements, numerous long days of work plus volunteering plus tutoring high school students. I've had a lot of people in my life provide encouragement and support along the way, some of them members here. In part because of those people I was accepted in to UW Bothell's Master's of Education- Secondary teaching program this week. I'm excited about the next phase of my life and thrilled to finally be on a path to a steady career.

    The program is part-time evenings and starts in September. I'll be working full-time at UW and going to school for a year, then I'll stop working when I start student teaching fall of 2015 and with any luck be a certified teacher by March 2016. I hope to teach exclusively biology, although I will have a general science cert and be able to teach any science grades 7-12.

    To those that have supported and encouraged me along the way, thank you. To those who I haven't had the pleasure of meeting or speaking with yet, thank you for reading. If any of the current teachers out there have words of advice, I will be all ears!
  2. Good for you!
    Gary Knowels likes this.
  3. Good Man!
    Gary Knowels likes this.
  4. Good post, thanks for sharing, and good for you Gary. It's great that you've been able to figure out what you want to do with your life at your relatively young age. I'm 65 and still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. But I've been doing this fish biology gig for decades now, and will probably retire in a year or so, so I'm kind of stuck in a rut for now.

  5. I want to Major in either Aquatic Entomology and/or Stream Ecology. Fly tying on the side;)
  6. That's awesome Gary! When I met you this past summer, you seemed like a thoughtful good guy, so my guess is this is a good fit for you (and the kids you will teach).

    And thank you for taking on this important job in society! I say that as the father of 3 young boys.

    Finally, it is also great to have more male role models in our schools. I have tutored kids regularly in our school and that's one piece of feedback the teachers always give me.
  7. Congratulations, Gary. My belief is that passion for what you do is the key to success, and you appear to have it. :)
    Ron McNeal and Gary Knowels like this.
  8. Awesome man congrats. Do what makes you happy.
    Gary Knowels likes this.
  9. Congratulations on figuring it out. A lot of folks never do.
    Ron McNeal likes this.
  10. Congrats Gary glad you got in. I just had to retake bio for majors last year to get into a program (i hated every second of it) and know it is not an easy road but you have the right attitude for it and your students will be lucky they are getting someone so passionate!
  11. That's awesome Gary! Very few figure it out at your age if ever.
    Ron McNeal likes this.
  12. Nice Gary. Very nice. Go for it!!
  13. Good call. I'm a 16 year veteran Junior High teacher. I easily work 60 hour weeks along with coaching and grading in the evenings during the school year and have to teach summer school to make ends meet. Lots of people work long hours but I go into work every day excited to be there and go home with the peace of mind knowing I got to help kids and their families. PM me if you want to hang out with me and my students for a day. Junior High kids are the best.
  14. Good luck Gary; Having taught most of my career at UC Davis, I'll say this: I'm not impressed with the quality of work, lack of preparedness, and lack of willingness to put out the effort from the majority of students in my classes. Most were very weak in research skills, in addition to incredibly bad grammar, and this included a lot of AP English kids! The IB kids were the best (International Bacc.), but way too many of them were used to their teachers "teaching to the test". As soon as the exam was over, they promptly forgot the stuff they barfed all over the paper. Maybe it was because I refused to use the scantron form, and required (gasp!!) writing essay exams and those horrible term papers though:eek: Demand excellence, and a lot of them will rise to the challenge, but not at first! Admittedly, medieval history can be really interesting-more so than science! I mean wow! Knights in Armor, the Crusades, the Black Death, Vikings, ogres, damsels in distress, wicked queens, the inquisition, Monty Python and the Holy Grail-I had it all! The hard part was bringing all this alive for them; connecting most, but not all of the dots, and getting them to finish the picture. For my subject, it never was about the battle/treaty/timeline stupidity. Make it come alive!!!!
    fredaevans likes this.
  15. Congratulations, Gary!

    Are you doing the field trips for BIOL 180 at UW?


    PS, look me up when you are on the main campus sometime; we'll go for coffee.
  16. Dr. of Doomology,
    Sounds like I would have loved to have had you for a Prof.
  17. Uc davis isn't that the place that they first figured out how to make L.S.D.?? When I was in school I thought any test that wasn't multiply choise was a form of torture...
  18. Good on ya G-bones (as I have gotten my wife to call you). I have never met anyone as interested and devoted to the field that you will be teaching. You will do great my friend! Just be prepared for a few student reactions like mine while taking biology. Fuckin' mitosis!
  19. Been teaching music since 1981 and still think I have the best gig in town. Have taught all levels from elementary to college. One of the best things about teaching is the mobility. I started teaching in the Seattle area, but when I got married and had children, we decided to move to small town USA, first Whitefish, MT now Baker City, OR. It's been fantastic for my children and I have always been close to great fishing since I left Seatlle. Don't be afraid of small town living, unless you know it's not your thing. When you live in a county with a population of 15,000 the trout (and the cows) might actually outnumber the people!
  20. I rest my case, and no BB, it was first made in Basel, Switzerland, in what was Sandoz labs in 1943.

    Multiple choice bullshit is a guessing game. Not my idea of testing a student's knowledge on a subject. No, my questions were more along the line of "List 3 contributions to society by the Greco/Roman world, and explain why they would not have succeeded within the medieval world". I consider this an easy question.

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