Teacher Spotlight: David Thompson, Math + Science = Love
“As I was conducting research at the San Diego Zoo (CRES) for a few Douc Langurs, I found my time talking to the school field trips. I made the realization that I loved teaching.” The rest, they say, is history. Or in David Thompson’s case, it’s science and math. He currently teaches Laurel Springs grade 6 students, but his experience expands throughout middle school. He recently took some time to reminisce about starting this online teaching journey and what he hopes his students learn beyond the classroom.
Sign of the Times
Mr. Thompson’s introduction to Laurel Springs happened about 15 years ago. He happened to meet the director of the school while on a family trip to Ojai, CA. “At this time, text-based classes were mailed via the USPS.” While a lot has changed since then, Mr. Thompson has adapted to the online platform and finds it even more exciting, especially since his students come from around the world. “I have had the chance to travel and see students in their own home towns. That has been very enjoyable.”
He isn’t only navigating online learning with his students, but with his family too. With two boys in high school, they have their own system to help keep everyone on track. “We check their pace every Sunday night and Friday afternoon. This allows us to keep track of grades (their efforts) and pacing. We can then discuss the weekly assignments and what should be done before the weekends.”
Lessons to Learn and Live By
Every teacher seems to have their own ways of helping to keep students engaged online. For Mr. Thompson, “I try to send interesting movies (I love Bill Nye the Science Guy), PowerPoints, and home labs.” He also provides his students with ways to reach him outside of office hours. “I set up appointments to meet in my digital classroom where we can learn and discuss their work.” The live instruction in these virtual classes is a popular choice for teachers who want to break that behind-the-screen barrier and truly connect.
This kind of connection is what makes some science lessons more interactive than others. “I LOVE Newton’s Laws. To think they were developed before computers, space travel and current day science. It is amazing. The lessons are also able to be felt, seen and demonstrated by all.”
One lesson Dave Thompson would like students to remember goes beyond what can be taught in the classroom. “HEART! If you place your heart and efforts into your work, sports, family and friends; then you can sleep knowing you did your best efforts.”
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