NFR School for Teachers

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

  1. Gary Knowels

    Gary Knowels Active Member

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    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. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Good for you!
     
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  3. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    Good Man!
     
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  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    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.

    Sg
     
  5. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

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    I want to Major in either Aquatic Entomology and/or Stream Ecology. Fly tying on the side;)
     
  6. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    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. Taxon

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations, Gary. My belief is that passion for what you do is the key to success, and you appear to have it. :)
     
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  8. golfman44

    golfman44 4-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year

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    Awesome man congrats. Do what makes you happy.
     
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  9. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Congratulations on figuring it out. A lot of folks never do.
     
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  10. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

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    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. Skysoldier

    Skysoldier Trout Hunter

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    That's awesome Gary! Very few figure it out at your age if ever.
     
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  12. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Nice Gary. Very nice. Go for it!!
     
  13. JE

    JE Active Member

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    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. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    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!!!!
     
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  15. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Congratulations, Gary!

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

    Dick

    PS, look me up when you are on the main campus sometime; we'll go for coffee.