23 August 2008

Back In the Classroom- Well at the front of it!

Posted by Dan Satterfield

When James-Paul Dice left for Birmingham, (Don’t get me crying again) he left a vacancy in a class he had been teaching at Calhourn Community College, here in Huntsville. JP talked me into taking it over for him, and I will start teaching Environmental Science on Monday.

JP swears I will love it, and since I do love everything to do with Earth Science, he may very well be right.

For those of you wondering how JP is doing, the answer is GREAT. We both still work for the same company, he is now the Chief Meteorologist at WBRC in Birmingham. A WAY overdue promotion for him. In case you could not tell, JP and I are not just co workers, but good friends. We LOVED working together during severe storms. We could read each others thoughts!

Back to teaching for a second.

I’ve taught some off, and on but never a class for a whole semester. What kind of teacher will I be?

Hopefully a good one!

I suffer fools poorly. Very poorly in fact, so students who did not find the time to read the assigned pages will find little sympathy from me. Where they will find sympathy is in not understanding something. I have always been thick with new concepts and I will do ANYTHING to make sure they understand it.

The average person really does not grasp how much an impact humans are having on our planet. My research for this class has been a real eye opener. We face some real challenges as global citizens in the very near future. The image below is from SCIENCE in July 2007. It shows the human impact on the Earth’s surface.

Science 29 June 2007:
Vol. 316. no. 5833, pp. 1866 – 1869
DOI: 10.1126/science.1140170
Domesticated Nature: Shaping Landscapes and Ecosystems for Human Welfare
Peter Kareiva,1,2* Sean Watts,2 Robert McDonald,3 Tim Boucher1

There are some fabulous instructors out there, and one internationally renowned biologist is just down the block. I count him as a friend and have listened carefully to his advice on how to pass on my love of science to my students.

There is talk of a war on science in this country. It does indeed seem like it, with teachers still having to be careful about teaching evolution in some cities. Trust me when I tell you that this is looked upon with utter amazement, and disbelief in most countries in Europe.

Then there are the ridiculous attacks on Climate Change Science. Most of these by web sites that are mainly politics in a thin disguise of high school physics. Some of those who do weather around the country, and have an AMS seal are guilty of passing on this kind of junk science.

You would think that sometime during their education, they were taught what Peer Review is.

I know one goup of students who are about to get a very indepth lecture on it!