Welcome!

Hello, and welcome to my Blog!

This a place where you will be able to follow me along as I journey through the Secondary Bed. Post Degree Professional Program at the University of Victoria. As I work towards my goal of becoming a High School Science Teacher, you will be able to find my reflections here on the topics I’ll be working through; the progress that I’ll have made (hopefully) on my “Free Inquiry” project; as well as general ramblings about education, science, and online learning.

But first, a little about me!

I grew up here, in Victoria, British Columbia, and have been fortunate to have been able to complete Elementary, Secondary, and Post-Secondary in this beautiful part of the world. I have always been interested in science, though I’m not sure I have always understood it from this perspective in my early years. As a kid, I vividly remember summers spent staring into tidal pools, amazed by all of the strange creatures I see. Once I began swimming, I would often snorkel for hours at a time, exploring the other-worldly rocky reefs and kelp beds. I believe these early years of discover, curiosity, and in general, time spent around the ocean, were key factors that led me into my fascination with biology and the natural world.

green and brown corals

(Tidal Pool,  – Prasanth KV, Via Upsplash)

When I entered grade one, I recall the day I became aware of Dinosaurs when my teacher gave us mini paleontology kits to dig up “dinosaur bones”. I’m not sure what the other kids didn’t see that I did, but this was the launch into my “dinosaur phase” (which I have never truly gotten out of). Soon into this phase I began collecting dinosaur models, puzzles, shirts, books, posters, stickers… you get the idea. From what I can tell by thinking back, the most important aspects about this new found obsession was that it led me to be more curious about the world. For instance, one of the first books that I convinced my parents to get me was a chronology of the prehistoric world. This book detailed the formation and development of life on Earth up until the modern era, and it had all of the answers I was looking for! Though I struggled to understand much of the material at first (as it was meant for older grades), I began to piece together the significant realisation that there are people who study these cool things for their lives! What more could you want in life?

(Allosaurus, Royal Tyrrell Museum)

A few other noteworthy events should be quickly mentioned, that have guided me towards my current segue into becoming an professional educator. The first of these turning points was joining the Air Cadet program in my youth. From the time that I joined at the age of 13, to the time I “aged out” when I turned 19, I had learned, among many skills I still value, junior leadership skills. This training awakened my interest in teaching, particularly because of how the program is structured. As cadets progress through levels and ranks, they become increasingly involved with the instruction of younger cadets, and eventually learn how to plan and teach in classrooms. Early on, I became excited about opportunities to develop these leadership abilities, and at 15, chose to attend a 3-week “Introduction to Leadership Course” and the following year, a 6-week “Introduction to Instruction Course”. I know what you’re thinking – “Sounds exactly like what you’d want to do for the summer as a teenager!”. In addition to providing me with friends I still have to this day, these camps taught me what it meant to “lead by example” and be an effective mentor, as well as how to create lesson plans for classes so that they are both educational and engaging. By the time I was in High School I remember analysing my teacher’s lessons and teaching methods so that I could improve my own classes that I taught each week at Cadets. I am forever grateful for the learning opportunities I was given by Cadets at this young age, and I’m confident that my enthusiasm and overall interest in teaching would not be what it is today were it not for this program.

 

Upon graduating high school, I chose not to race into post-secondary, as many I knew were doing. I always knew I would go, but I also knew that there were other things I wanted to accomplish before I got too far down a specific career path. So I chose to apply to the Professional Cooking Program at Camosun College to embrace my interests in cooking and baking. As long as I can remember, I have always been interested in cooking and making food to share with people and I knew the one year program would be something that would enrich the rest of my life (and it has, so far). I also knew that it would unlikely be something that I would choose to do after working so hard to get a degree in University. And besides, I would likely need some sort of job to pay my way through years of expensive university classes, and cooking sounded like a pretty good option. The Camosun program introduced me to the foundations of professional cooking, baking, and restaurant management, and since completion I have worked for over 10 years in the sector. I have, however, only in the past few years, realised one of the main aspects of the job I enjoy most is training new employees, a common requirement in any kitchen. As each new worker has varying skill levels and often a wide range of learning styles, I became aware that I was applying many of same teaching techniques I had developed in the Cadet program. Through witnessing the progression of my trainees’ abilities, I became increasingly conscious of the rewarding aspects of this mentoring. Over the years, as these “kitchen experiences” kept me connected with my leadership training from Cadets, it’s now clear that they significantly influenced me and allowed me to consider more seriously, entering into professional teaching.

(Pecan-Caramel Cheesecake with bourbon Caramel Drizzle, Candied Cranberries)

All right people, one last stop! But it’s a good one! It’s a place I’d be if I could be one other place right now – Australia! I went when I was in my early 20s and have carried it with me since. The people, the diversity of life, the landscape – It’s a hard country to leave! After dreaming about going for a number of years, I decided to go in the middle of my second year at UVic. Feeling slightly dissatisfied with the first and second year science courses I had finished, I felt unsure about the direction of my academic career. I knew I was interested in biology, but first and second year Math and Chemistry classes had me seriously second guessing my decision. After a month of planning, I was on a plane heading to Perth to begin a trip that would take me to one of the most amazing places I have ever been: Australia, yes, but specifically, the Ningaloo Reef in the Cape Range National Park, Western Australia. I spent a month working and snorkelling here and fell in love with the rich marine life just feet from the shore. It is hard to put into words what kind of world exists on a coral reef. Time just disappears here. All of your senses are heightened. Colours exist that you didn’t really think could be found in nature. Creatures of an incredible range of sizes and shapes inhabit every available space. It felt like I was stepping into a world indifferent to the existence of humans, like those found in the pages of my book on prehistoric life. Immersing myself in this environment was uncontrollably transformative and I left the Cape Range National Park, and Australia a few months later, with a new kind of energy.

(Sights from Western Australia)

In 2016, I finished my BSc in biology, concentrating in marine biology. Since graduating and then working in roles, ranging from a Science Instructor in Summer Camps, to a fisheries observer on offshore trawling vessels, my desires to become a high school teacher have solidified. I could not be more excited about this next step towards becoming a professional educator! Though I am only just at the beginning of the program now, it is a beginning that has surely been a long time coming. I look forward to spending the next 16 months developing my instructional skills and examining what it means to be an educator in 2020 and beyond! I hope you’ll enjoy following me along the journey!

Andrew

(Somewhere off the coast of Haida Gwaii)

And though its already been said mostly, here’s a little video I made that sums up how I came to be in the PDPP program and what motivates me to become a high school science teacher! (I’ve never spent any time producing a video like this before, and had a lot of fun learning how to edit video and sound.) Hope you like it!

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  1. Beautiful photos, Andrew!

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