By Patrick Goff
I can’t wait to get to the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress! I am excited to be able to meet so many awesome scientists that I have met through Twitter in person. As a science teacher, I need to attend more science content conferences so I can keep abreast of what is current and relevant. I know I need to keep up to date on applicable science content standards (Next Generation Science Standards – which I love, and if you want to know more, please ask me!). The more scientists I talk with to develop more connections, the better I know the science I am teaching, the better my class will be for my students! That is the ultimate goal for any teacher – how can I help my students to better learn?
My name is Patrick Goff, I am an 8th grade science teacher in Kentucky, and I have the privilege of being able to attend the conference this fall. I have to admit, I had no idea this group even existed before this year! Through Twitter, looking to find scientists who would work with my students or Skype in, I found Samantha Oester (SCB Marine Section President-Elect). I feel lucky to have found such a dynamic scientist to engage with online and with my students. She invited me to the conference to share some of the work I am doing with student/scientist mentoring programs. My first thought was, “Me?? Really? Why would they want to hear from an 8th grade science teacher? I’m just a teacher, and they are all accomplished scientists.” I was very intimidated to even think about presenting, even if it was just a poster presentation on a topic I absolutely love. Then I thought, “I am a science teacher! And what better way to help my students than to better my content knowledge and make new contacts who might help my students.” Those contacts have become absolutely invaluable to me. I can always ask any of them about current research, making sure I am saying ideas the right way, and then being able to pair my students up with them for certain projects.
(A scientist Skyping into one of Patrick’s classes)
Why should you, as a teacher, attend IMCC4? You will get to learn more pure science and meet some rock stars of the science community. The better we know our content, the better we can use all the ways we can to help our students better learn the science, and, in turn, to better act like scientists. What greater examples can we give them when we say, “You need to think and act like a scientist” than to meet and talk with actual practicing scientists?! This will be a phenomenal chance to make your own connections and to set you and your students up for some exceptional experiences! So go ahead – register for this amazing conference!
Patrick Goff is an 8th grade science teacher in Lexington, KY with 15 total years of teaching. He has a BS in Secondary Education, Masters in Administration and is National Board Certified in Early Adolescence Science Education. He is also a board member of the Kentucky Science Teachers Association. Twitter and blogging have become two of his new favorite ways to increase his interaction between scientists in the field and the students in his classroom. Goff is a founding member of the @NGSSblogs project where many teachers are now blogging about their adventures through the Next Generation Science Standards implementation.