28 December 2007


here it is the end of the first semester of teaching and I haven't been on this blog more than a handful of times! So much for reflection on a regular basis. I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately to prep for next semester. I will have many of the same kids from my Pre-AP physics class in the full blown AP class. That will be a bit of a challenge. Some of these students are so intelligent that I have difficulty challenging them. I need to get the fall semester closed out and look ahead to January 8th. It's going to be awesome. I am so much better prepared for this coming time than I was back in August. Not that I am old hat in the teaching game, but I have formed some really good relationships with a few students and I look forward to deepening them. Bring it on!

Check the links sections for a photo blog that I have recently started thanks to my new Digital SLR camera.

23 July 2007

it's been a while

Since I have blogged on here. So here goes...

This past weekend our youth pastor, Jeff Smith, brought a wonderful message at Northview. It was the "gospel according to U2". It was part of a continuing series entitled (strangely enough) "The Gospel Acccording to". It really had an impact on me. In the words of Bono, the lead singer of U2, "Africa is bursting into flames and we are all standing around with a water bucket". Basically, what am I doing with my time to help others? Not how am I witnessing to others, not how am I influencing others, but how am I helping others? The Church of the Nazarene was built on the basic precepts of what many might call Social Justice. That name always sounded strange to me until this weekend. I am better able to understand just what that means and I am beginning to understand more fully what that should look like in my life. I need to reassess my priorities and look for a way to help someone. That may mean I lose some of my "personal" time, but I think the reward will be worth the "sacrifice". Thanks Jeff for letting God use you as an instrument to speak to me.

24 June 2007

MTPE Day 8 & 9

Today was the best yet! We got to fly airplanes this morning. It was so awesome. I have not flown in about 18 years (I mean actually piloted a plane). The last time I did I was in the Navy and I soloed for the first time. Our instructor asked if anyone had any experience and I told him that I did, but it had been a very long time. He let me take off and actually navigate to Lindsey. I told him that I would prefer not to fly in the pattern and wanted him to do and he was cool with that. We had passengers and so I thought it would be best for them if I didn't actually land the plane, but it was better left to Chase's capable hands. This guy just commissioned with the Army and is waiting on a billet for flight school. He was a great, patient instructor. He encouraged me to get back into flying. I have given it a lot of thought and will probably try to figure a way to do that as soon as it is fiscally possible. That may be a very long time from now. That was all we did on Friday, but it was great to spend some time in the air again. If we had waited another 30 minutes, we probably would have had to wait out some weather, as it was quickly deteriorating to IFR conditions towards the end of our flight.
Saturday was just an award time and evaluation time. It was basically an hour of signing thank you cards, and almost not worth the drive to Norman. Oh well, it's over and I am a different person for having attended the workshop. It was great to get some ideas for my classroom and the opportunity to fly. Thanks NASA Space Grant Consortium for the opportunity! Pictures of me as Pilot in Command are coming soon!

21 June 2007

MTPE Day 7

Day 7 is in the books. We visited the National Weather Center in Norman, OK this morning. It was, possibly, the most interesting thing we have done all week. Can you say Masters in Meteorology? Oh man, that would be awesome!

The National Weather Service Building here is an extension of the OU School of Meteorology. They are housed in a Federal Building sharing joint custody of it. We started our tour at the top of the building and worked our way down. It was interesting to see the pecking order in the building with the seniors and graduate students on the top, juniors on the next floor down, and so on. I was amazed at the sheer amount of technology crammed into that building. They have a false floor between each floor simply for networking. We got to see the Federal part of the building where they issued every type of warning and watch for the contiguous United States. All from one room! We also saw the room where the Oklahoma WS conducts their operations as well. We saw new technology that is barely even in the field, as far as instrumentation is concerned. We sa
w some new sonar they are testing that is simply upward looking sonar to help with weather forecasting. The most amazing thing about the school is that the students get to go out into the field to conduct research. Not just graduate students either, I mean every student! I must say, there are so many disciplines here at OU in which one could be interested. Which one to choose? I mean I only have one life, there are a limited amount of degrees I can learn!

On the pictures below, notice how much glass is in the building. The entire southwest side of the building is glass. Guess which way the predominant severe weather patterns are in Oklahoma? This place is state of the art, as you can see from the pictures, they moved into the building in September of 2006. Everything, and I mean everything in this place is nice!

National Weather Service, Norman Oklahoma.

"Total Understanding of the Sky", the apparent motto of the NWS.

Upward looking sonar to map the atmosphere. This is actually in a classroom...of course that is an instrumentation classroom and it's outside!

The National Weather Service forecast room

A Mobile command post, where the fun really happens!

19 June 2007

MTPE Day 6

Today was a low-key day. I think everyone was glad of that. We have all been rather tired at day's end the past week. The classes are just the type that make you tired at the end of the day. Some days are long and that doesn't help either. We simply worked today on web-based resources for teaching aerospace type education in our classrooms. We are giving presentations tomorrow over a particular subject of our own choosing.

I have chosen to present Stellarium to the teachers I am in class with. I think it is a great tool for any age student. I presented last year at National Science Teacher's Association conference in Salt Lake City about this program. It is a free program available here. Basically, it is a planetarium program you can use in your classroom or home to see what the sky would look like from any location on Earth or within the Solar System, on any date in history or the future. More about it tomorrow.

I basically just browsed the web today looking at the possibility of starting a Civil Air Patrol squadron at the school. It looks like a lot of work, so I probably won't be doing that any time soon. I have to get my "teaching legs" under me before I take on any type of extra curricular activity. It seems like it would be interesting and fun, though.

Here is a screen shot from Stellarium. Go download it and start looking at the night sky today!

MTPE Day 5

Monday morning and we are talking aeronautics! I love aerospace education. I have long held the dream of being a pilot. Either private, military, or otherwise. Some of you may or may not know that, but my initial plans out of high school were to finish college and then return to the Navy to be a pilot. Fortunately, I married the most wonderful woman in the world, and my eyes are now too bad to be a military pilot. So, I guess things worked out for the best!

Anyway, we did a mini ground school today. In case you don't know, ground school is the initial phase or education part of becoming a pilot. We talked about how you find out about the weather. We talked about how to plan a trip. We learned about fuel consumption and how to figure it. We found out about how to find our true ground speed based on winds aloft forecasts and then how to re-calculate it based on our actual winds once we are airborne. Now I can't imagine taking out that gigantic chart in the cockpit of a small aircraft, but I guess you do what you've got to do.

The real question here is when do we get to fly? That comes on Friday and I will definitely have pictures of me in the left seat of a Piper Warrior.

This is a picture of the type of aircraft we will be doing orientation flights in on Friday.

18 June 2007

MTPE Day 4

Yes, I know, it's Sunday and I should be in church, but at about 10 am this morning, we went to the big field next to the Lloyd Noble center and launched some model rockets. These were A, B, and C engines. The very first one we shot off went on top of Lloyd Noble! It was awesome. This will become a part of my classroom, but probably only in the 1/2 A or A engine size. That could be done in a small area like a part of Dolese Park. I also plan to use fizz rockets, but only in the two stage mode. That should be a blast. Especially with minimal instruction.

Today was great because I got a lot of great ideas for things to do in the classroom. It was also difficult because I didn't get back to the hotel until after 10 o'clock, not to mention the fact that in some of the material given to us at the Omniplex the math was WRONG! Now when someone is giving you stuff for free, do you start pointing out things that are wrong with it? So now, I have to tell all of the teachers in my class that there is a problem with the math on the sheets we were given. Leave it to Jody to be the arse who has to be sure every thing is right...

MTPE Day 3

Rockets, rockets, and more rockets. That's what today was all about. We talked about integrating rocketry into the curriculum, we built fizz rockets, straw rockets, and balloon rockets, and then we built some "real" model rockets. It was a blast! I think this will definitely influence my curriculum, at least in my conceptual physics class. Kids always love aviation and rocketry, so if I can actually teach something while I am "having fun with the students", why not?

I must say that on most rockets, I did have the highest altitude on the little rockets, at least. :) Is it wrong to blow your own horn every now and then?

15 June 2007

MTPE Day 2

Day 2 is over already! Today was an adventure. We spent the morning at the National Geological Survey in Norman. Who knew there was such an interesting place here in the home of the Sooners? We got to see (literally) tons and tons and tons of rock. This place is a warehouse in which core samples of rock drilled for oil and natural gas wells are drilled. People come and look at these core samples years after stuff is drilled. There are also samples from 43 states other than Oklahoma. We also got to see an x-ray machine, developed by an engineer, in house, that they use to examine rock and see just what it looks like on the inside of the core, without doing any type of destructive testing. It was fascinating! I could have spent an hour or more longer there, just talking with the people who are employed there.

Lunch was Raising Cane chicken, which was outstanding. I'm not sure it's better than Popeye's, but it was delicious.

After our meal, we moved on to a really cool place called Geoeye, formerly Space Imaging Inc. I was so impressed by the professionalism exhibited by these folks I just can't say enough. We got to see exactly how images are received from satellites. These guys sit, all day, and track satellites that are moving at a velocity of roughly 7 km per second. For you non metric people, that's around 15,000 mph. Pretty amazing. They have satellites that have a resolution of less than 1 meter! This from over 640 km in space. That means that the optics on this thing are good enough to resolve an object of a size of less than one meter from a distance of 640,000 meters away. That is equivalent to being able to recognize a refrigerator from a distance of around 400 miles away! Maybe I should call my mother-in-law in Louisiana and have her move her fridge outside and see if I can see it from Oklahoma. That's roughly the same thing. This place was literally bursting with physics! Optics, kinematics, rotational kinematics, gravity, holy cow! How do I get a job there?!? Again, I could have literally spent a whole day here, but sadly we had to go after only a few hours. Some people in the group were bored and actually fell asleep, but I couldn't get enough.

Tomorrow begins our Rocketry cycle, so that should be a good time. Here are a few pictures from this afternoon; sadly
my batteries were down in the camera this morning.

This one is part of our group standing near one of the dishes used to receive information from the satellite. As you can see, it's pretty big...roughly 30 feet across. Good engineering here to get this thing to work. It tracks the spacecraft as it moves from horizon to horizon.

This is a very small portion of the tons and tons of equipment they use to track and obtain information from these satellites. This company is a private company, but the government uses them extensively, particularly in the area of agriculture. Some of their satellites are owned by India, they just pay them for time on their bird.

MTPE Day 1

Day 1 is over. In the past. I now know a little about remote sensing. What is remote sensing? Well I am glad you asked. It is simply viewing objects with some sort of device that is not in close proximity to the object. It primarily has to do with satellites and aerial photography. It is super interesting!

One of the issues with remote sensing we focused on was why scientists use false color images. Scientists use false color images so that things like green-growing vegetation will show up better. Vegetation of this nature is usually shown in red to contrast with the surrounding area better than different shades of green would.

Another issue we discussed was the distance away you are from an object. It's kind of like the "goldilocks principle" we talk discuss when referring to our planet and why there is life on it. We are just the right distance away, at just the right speed, etc. In remote sensing, you need to be just the right distance away, at the right time of day (lighting), etc. Depending on your usage, you may need a close up view or a larger field of view. You might want your picture taken at noon with no shadows (agriculture) or you might prefer that your image be done earlier in the morning so that you can have shadows and contrast. While we were looking at images, my astronomy knowledge came in handy in that we had to look at the picture and decide what time of day (length of shadows) and what time of year (direction of shadows) were represented in the image. My two elementary teachers at my table were really glad they were with me since I was able to draw the same conclusions as the presenter, thereby making us look extremely intelligent! :)

We also briefly covered pixels. What they are, what the do, how you can see color in your television, and why you want the highest number of pixels in your new HD television and your digital camera. Much of this I knew, but I didn't really know how to incorporate it into the curriculum. Now I do!

I came away with some great posters and pictures to put up in my classroom. One is a nighttime view of the Earth. It is going to be laminated and find a place of prominence near my desk. Awesome!

For more details on Remote Sensing, check out this website.

Preview of Day 2: trip to the National Geological Service, choice of a place in Oklahoma to have a map printed, and I can't remember what else. Check back later for more details.

12 June 2007


Mission to Planet Earth starts tomorrow. I couldn't be more excited. I have looked at an itinerary and it is going to be awesome! There will be satellites, airplanes, and rockets. It is going to be a blast! I will do my dead level best to post something everyday. I may even have some pictures to post as I will be taking my camera. I am going to be with science teachers who are of like mind and interests (science). 10, 9, 8, 7...

06 June 2007

Feeling like a teacher

Syllabus. Just one word. What could be hard about it? It sounds so easy. In reality, it is actually quite difficult. I just have to write a syllabus, probably just 3 or 4 pages long that will outline my entire year. Well, actually just half of the year. We are on block scheduling, so I get to start over at the half way point. It's like having 2 first years. Awesome! So anyway, how do I write this thing when I don't even know for sure what I am supposed to cover in the course? Here's the problem: there are two sections of AP Physics C, mechanics and electricity/magnetism. The college board recommends that block scheduled classes only cover one section per semester. I can't get an answer from my people. So what do I include in the syllabus?

I think it is time to make a command decision and go forward with only C-mechanics. That way, if I can cover more, I will. If I cannot, I won't. I think in reality the way it will happen is pre-AP will be the mechanics and AP will be the electricity/magnetism. Regular physics will simply be a Physics B course. I guess I will be teaching 3 AP classes, not regular, pre, and AP. It is indeed a daunting task. Am I up to the challenge? I'm not sure, I simply have to do the best I can and hope for success. I know I won't live up to my expectations, so I will constantly be pushing myself towards better and better results.

02 June 2007


I was sitting at dinner with my wife the other night and came to a major realization: I am going to be responsible for the education of at least 60 students; specifically in the area of physics. Even Advanced placement. For some reason, that thought is a bit scary right now. I am trying to write a syllabus for the AP course. I actually have to write and submit one so that my students can have the letters AP on their transcript. I'm not sure why that even matters since it is the score on their test that makes a difference. If they make a good score, who cares what their transcript says, right?
So here I am trying to figure out what to do. I feel as if I have no idea where to start. I mean, I know the subject, but where do I start? It's much harder than I thought.

23 May 2007

A Job

Putnam City High School called today and offered me a job. I will be teaching physics, pre-AP, and AP physics. Very exciting! I start work on the 7th of August. I can hardly believe I got a job at the school I wanted to be at teaching exactly what I want to teach. God is awesome!

Go Pirates!

22 May 2007


Well, here it is Tuesday already and the week is well underway. I went to Putnam City Original today to interview for the Physics job there. It was a pretty easy interview. I had prepared for something a little more intense, but was not disappointed when it was simply a discussion with a few questions I needed to answer. I had even done some research over a particular theorist which one of the vice principals is quite fond. I brushed up on my "Marzano's High Yield Strategies" before going in, only to not be asked any questions at all about it. No biggie. I simply rolled with whatever they threw at me and answered what they asked. Overall, I think it went good. I hope to hear something by the end of the week about a job. I doubt it will be a problem, but I won't count my chickens before an egg is even laid. It was a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be as good.

21 May 2007

Catching up

Wow, so much to say and so little bandwidth to do it with. Here's the straight skinny. I graduated and my brother in law is now married. That pretty much sums up the last two weeks. Man has it been a crazy ride. I am so tired. I have slept a big part of today just to try and catch up. We had ceremonies, we had parties, we ate, and we visited. It was really a lot of fun.

Here is a picture of me and my brother. I am the one in the graduation gown, not the one in the master's jacket...:)

Here is another of me pitching some horseshoes. I mean, what's more fun than that?

So tomorrow I go for a formal interview at Putnam City Original High School. I hope to have secured a job after the interview. All they keep telling me is pass those tests and you have a job, so I passed the tests, let's see if they come through with the job.

13 May 2007

What a weekend

Here it is the end of the weekend and nearly everyone is gone from my house. I am sitting alone in my living room while the few remaining family is down in the den. I am just fine with that. While I enjoyed having all of them here, I get really stressed out when I have that many people over at my house. I think I enjoy the planning of the events, but when it comes down the actual doing, I don't like it as much. I am not a good multi tasker and it shows at times like this. I pretty much fell apart this morning. It wasn't pleasant for me or anyone around.

The other side of that is I have a tendency, even though I say otherwise, to try to live up to people's expectations instead of trying to do what I think is right. I know, I know, that's not healthy, but it who I am and I am working on it.

I must say it is a great feeling to be done with school, not just the semester but the entire thing. It is a weight lifted off of my shoulders like you cannot even imagine. Everyone has been so supportive and so proud of me. I have been really blessed by all of the congratulatory comments from friends, family, and acquaintances. There were about 60 people here on Friday night helping us celebrate. I was so overwhelmed by everyone that was here. It was so nice to have all of my friends and family that have been so supportive of me and encouraging in so many ways.

12 May 2007

The Big Day

Well, the day finally came (and went). Graduation was this morning. It was a bit anti-climatic. After it was all over, I felt a bit let down. You know how things are when you look forward to something. I enjoyed the day, but now I just want to curl up and relax. I enjoyed having the family here, but now I would love for everyone to leave.

05 May 2007

Selling the world some furniture

This was a post I had to do for a class, Ministry Church and Society. I thought it was blogworthy. I will post some about school in the next few days. Things have been so busy, I haven't had time to do anything on here.

“Lord, as You give me opportunity today to speak about You, let me recognize the opportunity and use it for your glory. Whether in the marketplace or in the barbershop, while visiting with relatives or working at the office, on the school campus or lining up at the cafeteria help me to be sensitive to Your leading. Amen. . . . “ (Magalit, 89).

I think this is a great prayer to pray everyday. I don’t agree with the author’s statement in the first line, because I think God can work through our lives with people with whom we never have the opportunity to speak. We underestimate God so often. He’s so much bigger and better able to do something than I could ever dream. I simply have to be willing to let him work though me. I guess it’s just semantics. I simply think the world has to be also willing to hear what we have to say. I have known numerous people in the military who tried to share their faith with everyone and their brother and only come off as judgmental and self-righteous. I never want to be accused of that. I feel certain that God wants us to be willing to accept others just as they are; just like God accepts us just as we are.

The world wants to hear what we have to say, they just have to be in the right frame of mind. They have to be in a personal relationship with us. Why do you want a stranger giving you advice about how to spend your eternity? That’s akin to having a plumber tell you which TV you should buy. You would rather hear it from someone you trust, someone you know is knowledgeable in the subject, someone you have a relationship. I think sometimes Christians come off like furniture salesmen: as soon as the world walks in the door we are all over them trying to sell them the latest, greatest, most comfortable thing we can come up with. Frankly, I try to sneak in the furniture store so I can test out the chair before someone comes and tells me which one I want.

07 April 2007

Another week down, only 4 to go

Another week has passed and they seem to go by faster as we approach the end of the semester. I am really having a hard time getting motivated. I think I may have a touch of senioritis. Pretty bad when you are as old as I am and still have some self discipline issues. I will be doing some studying this weekend for my Physics test, even though I have family in town. I have a paper to finish for MCS and some posting to do for that as well on the discussion board. It still chaps my hide that I even have to do MCS while I am student teaching, it's a huge pain in my backside and shouldn't have ever been an issue.

Church seems to take more and more of my weekends so I am really working hard during the week. That's actually a nice change of pace, usually I put everything off until the weekend. I think I need to take a class in time management.

03 April 2007

Thoughts about the Nature of Science

In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms. ~Stephen Jay Gould
Does anyone find it interesting that most people are never really taught what a fact truly is? Or how important it is in Science? I think that Science Education has failed in it's mission to teach people the true nature of science. If you ask anyone other than a science major what a theory is, the would say something akin to a "wild-ass guess". Many people have misconceptions about what theories, laws, and facts truly are. A travesty, that's what that is...

Long Tuesday

It's Tuesday and I got home about 17:30. Now that may not be interesting, but when you consider the fact that I used to get home about two hours earlier, it was a long day. I went in early for a physical science meeting. It was worthless, but interesting nonetheless. I was able to work some on a lab with Lesa for almost two hours after school. We wrote an activity in which the students will graph (using Excel) their data from a rocket lab we did today. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is since most of these kids have never used the program in which they will be working. We worked hard with pictures and detailed instructions for the students. A big part of science is being able to follow instructions. Part of their grade will come from their ability to follow and understand our explicit directions.
It was an interesting day in that I was able to be involved more with the students, not to mention the fact that my rocket went further and fast than any of the student's rockets. :) I guess I am smarter than my students!
I still believe that the High School is where I should be. I hope to get the Physics job at PCO. The guy currently teaching Physics was observed by his University Supervisor/Mentor. He said it went well, but everyone is telling me that the reason the Physics job is open is because of the performance of the current teacher. Interesting...I hope I don't screw up too badly. I think anything short of that will go a long way toward getting me into that position. It helps to talk about this. I really want the job, but I am worried that I won't get it; so putting it into words helps me to process it in my brain.

01 April 2007

Sunday morning thoughts...

Here it is, one week into my first assignment and I have nothing done. I have learned that I really need to learn to manage my time better. That is one skill that I really have a lot of trouble putting into practice in my life. That said, I think I will waste a little more time and write.

High school: Wow! What a departure from teaching at the middle school. I really enjoy the high kids more than the younger ones. It's the same kids, in fact some of my Cooper kids have brothers and sisters in my high school classes. So, it's simply an age thing.

Job search: I may actually have a shot at a physics job at PC. There is a position there and I have an advantage since I am student teaching there right now. There is also a physical science job opening there. While that is not as desirable, at least I would be at PC High. I have also applied for the Director of Transportation position with Putnam City. That job is a 12 month position, but it's a lot more money. I would rather teach, but money speaks quite loudly to me right now.

Physics study: I haven't actually started studying for my OSAT, yet. I still have 3 weeks, so plenty of time there.

Church: What can I say. I am really struggling with my attitude right now. I still love what I get from God there, but I have really had a difficult time with my attitude about ministry. There are people who don't value my ministry the way I do (understandable, they have other priorities) and that causes problems when I feel they do not respect activities I plan, nor do they treat me with the respect I think I should be accorded. Obviously, I have a problem with me, not with someone else. I cannot control what others do, I can only control how I react to what others do. What an important lesson! God holds me accountable for the latter; He holds them accountable for the former. I am excited about what God is going to accomplish in our ministry next year. I am simply trying to learn as much about college ministry this year and make next year better than ever. I think we are in a rebuilding stage, so it's hard to judge our success or failure. I take it a week at a time.

NAACP: No, not that NAACP! I am talking about the Northwest Area Association of College Pastors. This is a new ministry for other college ministries. I am going to try to organize something and kick this off by the end of the semester. I have so much going, I'm not sure I will be able to accomplish anything before then, but God has certainly nudged me in this direction and I am going to follow His leading in this area.

26 March 2007

My first day in High School...

No, I don't mean I am attending High School for the first time, I started my student teaching at Putnam City High School today. I think I am really going to enjoy the older kids more than those 7th graders. While these kids will not be without difficulty, things simply seemed to be more laid back and low key than with the younger ones. It's amazing just how much they change in 3-4 years. The maturity level is truly different. I'm not sure I remember my 9th grade time as being that mature, but these guys (even the difficult ones) are much better than what I experienced in my first assignment.

The really sorry thing about this is now I have to learn the names and personalities and home lives of a whole new set of students. While that is not an impossible task, it certainly is not an enjoyable one. I am still looking forward to my own classroom where I have the same kids for at least one semester.

So, I am no longer a Cooper Cougar, I am now officially a Putnam City Pirate! Hopefully for longer than just this 6 week assignment. I would love to work there.

24 March 2007

38 today...ouch!!

I can't believe I am only 2 years away from 40. This getting old thing really sucks! I mean I don't feel like I am 38, I feel like I am about 25. (except for early in the morning when my back reminds me that I really am not that young anymore) Seriously though, it's not all that bad. I guess we in society have simply attached a stigma to 40 and in our 20's that seems so old! It is not looking that bad right now, though!

Anyway, it's another day and another year. Hopefully this will be a good one as far as jobs are concerned. At least I am finally graduating from college!

13 March 2007

A rollercoaster of emotions

Well the end of my first assignment has come (and gone). It's hard to believe that you can get to know more than 100 kids in such a short time. I am really excited to be back on campus for the week. It's good to see familiar faces and sights again; kind of comforting, actually.
Teaching at Cooper was a major roller coaster of emotions. It's interesting to look back at the past posts and see how my emotions changed from day to day. One day would be amazing where I could almost see the light bulbs come on all over the room when the look on their faces was "Oh! I get it!" Those are the times that I have come to live for and love. That is why I teach. Not to get summers off (although that is nice), not for the money (God knows it's not for the money), it is simply for the satisfaction of passing (at least some of) my passion for science on to people who still have time left in their lives to do something with it. I may not be an old man, but I am past the point of doing any amazing research, past the point of going to medical school, and past the point of becoming an astrophysicist. So, I can do all of those things through my kids. They still have time to do something with their lives. Time to make a difference in medical research or cosmology. Wouldn't it be ironic if one of the kids I teach later go on to find a cure for some unknown disease that I end up having? That's a cool thought!
Sure there were days when I thought, "No way will I ever teach middle school!" While that was true on that particular day, I did have many days that I thought "Wow! What a great day!" So which of them were more numerous? I have no idea. I believe I could be happy no matter where I end up. God has a place carved out for me and I simply have to be willing to accept His Will for my life, no matter the school setting. I thought that I might even not teach, but it looks like I am headed down the path of low pay, summers off, disrespectful kids, and the most satisfying job anyone could ever have.

05 March 2007

Holy super doody! The worst day ever!

Well, at the risk of sounding like an incessant whiner. I will simply say, today was, as far as classroom behavior is concerned, absolutely the worst day since I have been student teaching. My sixth hour couldn't shut up. The talked the entire hour to the point that I lost my patience with about 10 minutes left and I finally just ended class before I got really pissed off and said something I would later regret. Fortunately for them, and me, I stopped before I reached that point. Sometimes I wonder how we ever keep anyone teaching in the middle school. I can tell you unequivocally I am ready to go to the high school. Today inspired me to write a short little poem. I call it "The dirge of student teaching". Want to hear it? Here it goes:

I was ne'er
so glad to smell and hear,
the exhaust in the air,
as the buses drove away,
and took the kids home for the day.

04 March 2007

Another week already?

Here it is the last week of my assignment. Another week gone and nothing to show for it here on my blog. Pretty sad. I have not kept up with this at all the way I wanted to. I taught all week long and it was the most rewarding, tiring, exhilarating week of my life. To see the kids actually get interested in something we were talking about was so fulfilling! We started space on Wednesday and I began by introducing them to some things I think are important to remember. The other teachers liked it so much they wanted all of the seventh graders to hear it, so I taught each team for three successive days. It was awesome to share some of my passion about astronomy and help them realize they can all do it! They were very receptive to what I had to say and were engaged in asking questions and understanding things they already knew a little about. It was great! I am so looking forward to the high school and a dedicated astronomy class. I can hardly wait to get in the room with some upperclassmen who really want to learn about the universe. It promises to be a major challenge with equal rewards.

24 February 2007

The week in review

This past week student teaching was the most interesting yet. I actually fulfilled the long awaited "takeover" of the class on Wednesday. It was a momentous occasion when the students began to ask where the teacher was and when she would be back. The look on their faces was worth every dreadful hour I spent sitting in my chair wondering what I would do differently, given the opportunity. We are still finishing up genetics for the first two days of next week, but then we start space on Wednesday. I am pretty excited to be able to share some of my passion for astronomy with the students. I hope I will be successful in that. It's a tall order since they are just getting used to me, but I'll do my best. It's hard to believe I only have two weeks left there, but it's exciting to think about going to the high school. It is not, however, exciting to think about learning 100 new names of students. Oh well, such is the life of a teacher.

I was able to exercise a little of my classroom management techniques on the class this week. It's been interesting to see how these kids react to me versus the normal teacher. My naturally loud voice really gets their attention when I choose to use it. It is usually followed up by "Mr. Bowie, why you yelling at us?" To which I reply, "You guys haven't heard me yell yet!" I try to be light hearted about that even when I feel angry. It's a real trial to not let the kids get the best of me. It's actually much more difficult than I thought it would be.

Stay tuned for updates on how my job search (had an interview this week) is going and how my last two weeks in middle school goes. Thanks for reading.

20 February 2007

Just some ramblings about church

This past weekend at church was a great time. Pastor Tony spoke about anger and how we, as Christians, should and do handle it. I left church with some real conviction in my heart and that hasn't happened in a long time. I felt that I don't always deal with my wife/kids in a manner pleasing to God when I am angry. I have had some things to pray about and talk with my family about since Sunday and that has been a great time to draw closer together.

Sunday night we continued our time in Soul Cafe with striving for an understanding of God's will for our lives as college students. I don't know about anyone else, but I am stressed about finding a job when graduation is over. It's crazy but I am worried that I won't be able to find the right one. When I begin to feel that way, I stop and pray. I thank Him for bringing me this far through school, even at my age, and remember that He has a plan for my life. I remind myself that to the best of my knowledge, I am in the center of His will and as long as I work to hear what He is telling me through scripture, prayer, circumstances, and the church, He is faithful to answer me when I call to Him. While leading this series during Soul Cafe' I have been so blessed to begin to understand just how to hear God when He speaks. The single most important thing I have learned so far is to stop and listen. Sometimes it is hard to hear what God has to say when there are so many other things vying for my attention.

God, please help me to remember to stop and hear you when you speak. Even though there may be other things I need to do, help me to remember each day to listen for your voice in my life and to keep you a number one priority! Amen.

12 February 2007

The father of "develop over time"...

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin! If Darwin were alive today, he would be turning 198 today. Not too bad for a guy who sailed around the world on a ship propelled only by sails, the HMS Beagle. This man turned the scientific community on it's ear when he proposed the idea that species change over time after he studied many different species in the Galapagos Islands, particularly finches. Interesting that such a non-descript man would study such an ordinary species and cause such a stir, the repercussions of which are still rippling throughout the biological community today. Kudos to a great scientist who, despite persecution was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

What a terrible day...

What is the deal? Was it a full moon last night? Those seventh graders were insane today! Every class, even the ones we don't normally have trouble with, were crazy. They would not sit down, they would not be quiet, they would not stay on task for more than a minute or two. I really don't know what it was today, but there was something strange going on.

So, how is my student teaching going you ask? About the same. I am in observation hell. I haven't done anything in front of the class to speak of. I got up today because the teacher was called out of the room on an emergency at a time when she was actually "teaching". I simply stood up and took over. When she came back in, and I had a moment to stop, she took over again. It's the strangest thing. I almost think she doesn't want me to teach in her room. Maybe she is weirded out by me being in the room? Maybe she lost her groove? Maybe I have interrupted the space time continuum? I don't know! And frankly I am beyond asking myself the question anymore. It's pointless. Why stress over something I have absolutely zero control over?

So, does that answer your question about how my student teaching is going?

06 February 2007

Time is getting away from me...

Here it is Tuesday already and I haven't written anything this week. So here goes:

I am getting into a routine at school, knowing the kids better everyday, and was able to meet some parents last night. We had parent-teacher conferences and I needed to sit in on at least some of them. We were at the school for 12 hours yesterday. Long day! I got some good face time with parents, though. It was good experience to see how to intereact with parents who are pissed that their child is failing your class. Some parents were good, i.e. ready to do something with the student, and others came in on the defensive. My cooperating teacher and the geography teacher were both really calm and expert at calming the parents down. It was not a surprise that some parents get a different story than what is actually happening at school. I don't understand student's thought process when they lie to their parents. I guess they think there won't ever come a day of reckoning, and for many it never does. It's so sad to see troubled kids who know their parents/guardians will never make the effort to come to the school and find out why their kids are doing poorly in school.

I heard a great quote last night by the geography teacher concerning parents and kids. It was "Kids mirror parents just as a dog mirrors it's owner." That is so true! It makes me laugh. Now I could never tell Mrs. Smith that because she might think I were calling her daughter a bitch. While I might think that is how her kid acts, I could never say it. :) Parents (myself included) don't take a comparison between their child and an animal very well.

So, now I am not only learning how to deal with kids, I am learning what to do with parents as well. It's great knowledge to have and I hope I can retain some for future reference. Kids in the classroom are one thing, but parents? There is nothing you can do for them except talk. Many hear you, but not a few never hear what you are saying because they are too busy thinking about what they are going to say in return.

02 February 2007

Kids in the classroom

It is so hard to find the "happy medium" when it comes to discipline in the classroom. I have found that my cooperating teacher is much more lenient than I am when it comes to discipline. That being said, where do I fall when it comes to discipline? Especially when I am not teaching yet? Do I correct even when she does not? Do I assume that she doesn't hear everything that is going on? I used to think I had bad hearing, but if I am hearing stuff that she's not? Maybe I'm not as old as I thought I was. It is entirely possible she has begun to tune things out, too.
I haven't answered my question, though. Do I just give up on some kids and accept the fact that they are going to disrupt my class and act like little pricks? Obviously I am talking about boys here. There are a couple of boys (one of whom I am friends with his mom and dad which makes things doubly complicated) who ignore what the teacher says, have to be told several times to sit down and stay on task, and simply get up and walk around the room for no apparent reason other than to talk with other boys. My teacher is definitely not as strict about this walking around stuff as I would like to be. Maybe she has tried to fix the problem but the kids refuse to cooperate? No, I refuse to believe that. It's not possible. I am still naive enough to think I can make a difference in lives and that kids will do just what you expect them to. I hope I never loose that. Kids will rise to whatever expectation you set for them. If you think they are going to misbehave, they will; however, if you think they can achieve, even at the lowest level, they will. I refuse to think that there are unteachable, unreachable kids. Every student that walks through my door will take something away from my classroom. It's up to me, at least in part, whether that one thing is positive or negative.

31 January 2007

From the book by KC Cole

There were some really significant insights into the nature of science in the book "First You Build A Cloud" that I really liked. Here are a few:

"Right ideas are seeds that flower into righter ideas, whereas wrong ideas are often sterile and do not bear fruit. Once Newton got the right idea about gravity, he explained a great deal more than falling apples, or even the orbit of the moon. He tied together the universe with one cosmic force in a way that allowed later astronomers to understand the motions and masses of all the stars and planets." KC Cole when speaking about the rightness or wrongness of an idea in science.

"In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations." Einstein and Infeld, The Evolution of Physics

Grade Inflation/Relativity

Today I was having an interesting conversation with my wife, who is a teacher at the college level, about whether there is grade inflation or relative grading based on how much effort a student puts into their work. I was asking her if teachers grade based on behavior/effort. I mean, as a teacher, will I be one who gives students enough points to get them to a "C" even if their point average is not enough for that? I guess the conversation came as a result of my class taking a test today. During the test, I was watching several of the students and I could tell who was putting effort into the test and who was just marking answers on the scantron sheet. There were students who didn't even read the questions. These are the same kids who, during the review, had no idea what the answers were and sat with a blank look on their face when they were called on.
So, when the tests are graded, who gets points when they need help? I suppose the answer should be really easy, but I have a problem with the fact that ANYONE ever gets any points without earning them. On the other hand, aren't the kids who make an effort to study "earning" their grade even if you have to give them a point or two over what their actual raw score is? (Bear in mind I am not talking about giving a student with a 50% point average a "C" on their report card.)
Some of this question bears asking because I look at the student's grade reports and I wonder how so many kids are passing this class with the (lack of) effort they put out. There is one student who finished a 40 question test in about 7 minutes and had no idea what was happening during the review, yet he has a "B" in the class. This kid talks incessantly, never does work independently, nor does he do much other than distract others during class. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a student who is quiet, asks for help, turns work in on time without being pressured to do it and has a "D" in the class. So how is that fair? If the "D" student were my child, I would wonder what was going on (especially if I had knowledge of the "B" student's behavior problems).
In this class there is weighted grading, i.e. tests/projects are worth>quizzes and worksheets. This would seem to benefit the struggling students who never turn in work; however, that doesn't seem to be the case here. I wonder if the teacher gets pressure from the coaches to keep kids eligible for sports? Surely at this level there is not that kind of business going on. At a 6A high school? Sure, but not at a middle school! I just can't imagine. So what is the deal? I can't figure it out and I see the kids, the teacher, and the grades. It's a mystery to me!

29 January 2007

Day 4 and 5

Things seem to have settled down a little bit in the classroom. Maybe it's a day to day thing. I found that the students were much more amicable in class today. There is an interesting dynamic in the classroom, between the teacher and the students. I am learning, slowly (due to my innate thick-headedness) that maybe things are the way they are because the teacher has been with these kids for 5 months. I've only been there a few days. I need to be the one to back off and see where I can fit into the situation, instead of trying to make the situation fit me.
I have to see what strategies there are already in place in the classroom that I can adopt to fit where I see the class going. I realize, finally, that I cannot come in and "wreck shop" on these kids. I have to assimilate into the classroom, within the parameters already set up by the current teacher. That may actually be more difficult than having my own classroom. These kids are with this teacher until the end of the year; I am only around until spring break.
Relationships. I have to go back to that. I have adapted this one word as my philosophy of education. If I forget that, I am in big trouble. So, all of that to say this: I have to back off, reassess the situation and see where I can fit in. Without that, I will probably be without a good recommendation, without any knowledge gained from the experience, and at a loss when it comes to taking over the class. It's hard to put the brakes on and back up, but if you are not careful, you might just go over the edge.

25 January 2007

Day 3 at Cooper

Today was difficult. I actually was in front of the class for a little bit. Things went along rather smoothly in 2nd hour, but 5th hour is one I would like to get back and do over. The problem is that there are no "do overs" in teaching. Yes, I know, every day is a new day, but you can never take the day before back. I just have to keep moving and learn from my mistakes. I thought discipline would come easy to me, but it really does not. I let myself get sucked in to the "responding to every little thing they say" problem today. I constantly have to remind myself that is not necessary. I could do that on the bus, but there was no learning going on during the ride home! That's the difference! I can easily forget that.
Lord, give me the strength to go back into the classroom tomorrow. Help me to realize there are no second chances, but there is always another day. Jesus please help me to learn from my mistakes and not to fall into the same trap every day. Thank you for your love in my life and the way you are always there. It's nice to have someone to listen to me, even when I am not having a great day. Amen!
It's good talk about the good days, but it's probably more important to talk about the bad. This is my chosen profession and I need to learn all I can from my cooperating teacher, even if I disagree with her methods and content delivery. I must remind myself that I don't know it all, I really don't even know anything. This is as much a learning experience for me as it is for the kids.

24 January 2007

Second day at school...

Here it is the second day and already I feel as though I am beginning to settle into a routine. I made a seating chart of each period. That really will assist me in learning names of the kids. I really made some progress on that task today. I probably learned at least one third of the kids names. That makes me feel much better about beginning to form relationships with the kids.
There seem to be some issues with discipline in the classroom that I may have to address at some time later.

Okay, I am so frustrated with Cox Internet! I will have to try to write some more later. I am too mad to speak right now.

23 January 2007

My first day at school

Today was my first day at Cooper Middle School; the beginning of my first student teaching assignment. It was a great first day! I learned about zero kid's names (give me a break there are 90 or more), I already know who my special kids will be (those requiring more attention than others), and I met about 20 teachers who all expect me to remember their names, too. On top of that, when I went out to my car to leave school, it would not start! It might just be the starter, but it could be more serious. In all seriousness, it really was a good day.
Today was so much different than all of the observations I have done. First, I was there all day; that was different because I got to see what a day in the life of a teacher is actually like. I think I was most surprised at how much "free time" they have. Now I know it's not really free time, but it is time to plan, grade, gather your thoughts, and think about what you might have done differently during the last hour.
I am very impressed with my cooperating teacher; she seems to really have it all together. She is a seventh grade teacher and has been teaching for more than 5 years. She has her national board certification and she is very patient with the kids. In fact, I probably should pay close attention to how she handles the kids in class. I think she is less strict than I am and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I tend to be quite demanding of kids when it comes to classroom behavior and I may have to ease up or go insane.
I felt like I had the subject matter in hand better than I thought I would. We are working on genetics and I think I could have taught the lesson after the first or second hour. Mrs. N. told me there will be occasions when I am unfamiliar with the subject matter and in that case I will just have to learn along with the students. The advantage is I have the book! With all of the answers even! Pretty cool!
I am excited to be in class with a few students with which I am already familiar. There are one or two in each class who have ridden my bus in the past. Knowing some of their background will enable me to better understand who they are as a person and what they might require as a student. Many of the kids at this school come from below poverty level socio-economic status. This affects all areas of their life, especially school. Most have no support from parents, so all work has to be done at school. I really have a heart for these kids and hope I can make a difference in their lives.

22 January 2007

Conferences as an undergrad, what's in it for me?

My first experience attending a professional conference happened in December, during the last week of the Fall semester. I missed class on Friday, but the experience was well worth the absence.
Let's rewind to December 2005 for a minute; Professor Mark Winslow, my university advisor, called me and asked if I would be interested in going to Salt Lake City, Utah for the National Science Teachers Association regional conference the following year. As any normal college student would, I replied with "Of course! But what is it going to cost?" So Prof. Winslow outlined his plan in which we would apply for a grant to pay my way, with the condition that I give a presentation at the conference. My first thought was, "What information do I have that would be useful to people who are already teachers?" He went on to relate just what we would talk about and convinced me this was a good idea, even though I remained skeptical.
So he submitted our proposal, we applied for the grant, and we finalized our travel plans. Before I knew it I was helping Prof. Winslow adapt a lab manual he had written to fit a free planetarium software. Unless you are registered as a vendor, the NSTA frowns on pushing a product during your presentation, hence our choice of a free software program.
He had written a manual to go along with Starry Night and we adapted this manual to fit Stellarium. Both programs are useful in assisting educators with observing opportunities when the weather does not want to cooperate. If it's cloudy outside, just fire up Stellarium and you can look at the sky on your computer. Teachers usually find observing difficult unless there are a number of telescopes for students to look through; these planetarium programs make it much easier to keep students engaged in the learning process by limiting the number of "telescopes" only to the number of computer monitors in their lab.
While I was at the conference Professor Winslow and I showed 65 teachers how they could use Stellarium in their classrooms and teach the "nature of science" to their students.
I was amazed at the receptivity of the teachers. Several educators told me how useful they felt this would be in their classrooms and that they would be "putting the materials to good use immediately". This was an enormous encouragement to me. Not only had I experienced professional growth, I had an effect on others that would trickle down to their students.
The entire trip was a great development opportunity for me. I worked on my public speaking skills,
I was able to attend several other presentations in which I got materials for use in my classroom, and I was able to visit with other pre-service and new teachers who have some of the same fears I have. We were able to encourage each other based on our own experiences.
I highly recommend attendance at a professional conference, if the opportunity presents itself. At the very least, when you get into the your chosen profession and are required to get professional development, try and convince your administrators to send you to a conference, even if you cannot give a presentation. National conferences are preferable, but regional conferences give ample possibilities for enrichment, too. Talk to your university advisor to see if there are conferences in your discipline that would fit your budget and schedule. If attendance at a conference or workshop is cost prohibitive, look for scholarship opportunities; they are available but may sometimes be difficult to find.

The first day back to school

It's the first day back to school for Putnam City, yet I am still at home. We were told to give the teachers one day back with their students before we invade their classroom. So here I sit. Good thing, too; I have much to do in Ministry, Church, & Society.
Snow is still on the ground here but the powers that be decided it was safe to go to school. We will see if the bus drivers can maintain their perfect driving record they had on the last day we were in school.
My kids were not really happy about going back to class, but I think it is preferable to losing their spring break.

18 January 2007


Let me begin by giving you some insight into what is required for your during student teaching seminar concerning Ministry, Church, & Society. The teacher candidate must spend 14 total hours with someone from the Dept of Religion and Theology. No big deal right? Let's continue: the candidate must also submit a proposal in which they describe how they plan to spend 8 hours at a church ministry or compassionate ministry. At the end of the semester they will submit a 5-6 page "reflection paper" about this project. Meanwhile, you must become involved in a local church every week and submit 12 "reflections" about that throughout the semester. The candidate must also submit a 6-9 page paper about The Universe Next Door and a 5-6 page paper about the Christian Teacher in the Public School. Now alone, this is really not that much work; but in the context of actually learning your job that you plan to do for the rest of your life? It seems like an inordinate amount of work to me.
I may sound like I am griping about petty little stuff, but from this side of student teaching I believe I am about to enter a semester that has the steepest learning curve of any previous one. The problem I have with this is that the curriculum in the School of Ed is designed so that you must do this during student teaching. Why not give this as an option in an earlier semester? I would have taken MCS long ago had I realized this was what was coming. Why not prepare your teacher candidates ahead of time? My advisor spoke with someone about this and their response was "Just have them take MCS before student teaching". NOW you tell me? Come on, why did I not know this 2 semesters ago? The entire purpose of this is to "convince" us to adapt regular church attendance as a lifestyle. I am almost 38 years old! If I haven't adapted this lifestyle by now, the likelihood of me doing so is extremely slim. That being said, I must tell you that I am on staff at a local church as the co-director of College Ministry. So just what am I supposed to get from this experience. I would much rather focus on my teaching right now and really learn how to do it and do it well, rather than add all of this other extraneous business into the experience.
Student teaching, in my opinion, is the most crucial semester for a teacher candidate. Its where you learn how to "make the rubber meet the road". Why cloud that with tons of writing? I mean, I am going to go to church whether they make me do it or not. I understand the point of MCS for a student who is still learning their place in God's kingdom, but the School of Ed should not design the professional semester so that the candidate has more stress than they should at such a critical time in their lives. Don't you think a young person would be more likely to get in church and stay in church if they took this class during an easy semester? I do, but then I am not a PhD who has a say so in the design of the School of Ed, so what do I know?

17 January 2007

Some reflective thoughts

Today, I had a second interview in a study on "Religion and Evolution: How do I, as a Christian, let the two live together in my brain?" Basically, my advisor is working on his PhD. and is interviewing people to find out about their views on God and Science. Sounds right up my alley, right? Well, sort of it is, but I don't consider myself a biologist, so it's not. I do however consider myself interested in cosmology, so it is. I won't go into my views right now, but suffice to say the first interview of the study was difficult. Winslow asked me some very pointed questions about my life and people who have influenced the person that I am. Well, those people don't all have a great relationship with me or persons of my immediate family and it was hard to talk about those relationships. The great thing was that it was very therapeutic for me. I felt totally free to talk with him because there was a certain sense of confidentiality to all of it. (and here I am airing my dirty laundry on the web!). Anyway, it was like going to counseling and talking to someone who just let me talk. He didn't pass judgement on me (I do that well enough myself), nor did he let on if he thought I was wrong about a particular relationship; he simply listened and let me ramble. I never knew just how great something like that could feel. It was like I had open the innermost parts of my soul and let someone see inside for a minute or two (more like three hours). I talked about things I haven't spoken of or thought about in years. I learned as much about myself as the interviewer did.

So all of that to say, "if you have issues in your life that you have repressed for a while, you would be surprised to find that it might be a good thing to talk about those things with someone". It worked for me!

16 January 2007


Wow, what a day. We looked at this, looked at that, had stuff read to us. (don't they know we can read?) I have only been in seminar for one day and already I can't wait for it to be over. I am, in some ways, ready to go ahead and get on to the classroom so I can begin to learn how to be a teacher. I found out that I will NOT be at the same middle school with my children, but will instead be at the one I requested, where by bus kids are. I am so thankful to be going there. I love the kids from Lyrewood Lane that I used to drive on the bus. They have their bad days, but then so do I. We have established some good really good relationships and I feel obligated to spend some time away from the bus with them. How else can I possibly do that without student teaching? I suppose there are some ways, but this is certainly a convenient way to get to know them better. Who knows? I may actually teach some of these kids in high school...

11 January 2007

I missed comet mcnaught

Last night, while up at the school, one of my professors and I decided to try to see the comet I have mentioned earlier. So we go and find the security guard so we can get on the roof of the science building on campus (gotta have a clear, unobstructed view of the horizon) and when we get up there, what do we see? Clouds! Only on the western horizon! So I was really bummed out about that since this is supposed to be the brightest comet in the last 30 years or so. I saw Hale-Bopp back in '97 but I missed this one all together. I guess I will just have to enjoy it in pictures. By the way, if you are in the southern hemisphere, once the comet gets to the other side of the Sun, you may be able to see it, even in daylight!
I was hoping to take a picture or two of the comet, but so far I haven't even seen it. People used to think comets were messengers of doom, maybe this one just has nothing to say to me.

09 January 2007

Student Teaching coming up soon!

In the next few weeks I will begin the journey known as student teaching. I am terrified and excited all at the same time. Now you may wonder...why would he be terrified AND excited? Well I have taught on a limited basis so the nervousness of getting up in front of a group is pretty much gone. However, I am still concerned about my subject area knowledge. I mean what if I get up and tell them the wrong thing? What if I teach them wrong information? Now I know, you may be saying "Well, everyone is nervous about that their first year." So! I don't care about anyone else! I only am concerned with MY feelings right now. As I get into this adventure and start learning exactly HOW to teach, I will share some of my experiences and feelings here. Maybe someone who is getting ready to go through the same things I am going through now will be able to learn something from this little view into my life.

If you are encouraged, or disagree, or like something I say, or just want to say hello, please feel free to comment on anything I have said or made you think about.
Image courtesy of Jens Hackmann, see the original here

08 January 2007

How small are we?

Do you ever feel really insignificant? I do. I am going out with the telescope tonight. Anytime I do that I get the sense that I am a very minor part in the universe. It is so expansive and huge. Even the scale of the solar system boggles my mind, no less the vastness of the universe. It never ceases to amaze me that God, with all He has to do (i.e. take care of the entire everything) has time to care at all about what I am "bothering" Him with. He can take time out away from running the cosmos to listen to me ask for help with my problems. More than that, I am amazed at how He lives within my praise to Him. I am only one person (of billions), on one planet (of possibly millions of billions), in one solar system (among billions), in one galaxy... well you get the picture. I heard a statistic once that there are about 200 billion galaxies, in which there are about 200 billion stars (read possible solar systems here) in each one of those galaxies. Each one of those stars could have numerous planets and each planet could have a civilization on it. God must be really big to be able to take care of all of those possible people at once. It simply reinforces the belief that God is bigger than all of my problems and shortcomings. Pretty amazing...

photo courtesy of apod

07 January 2007

Get out your telescopes!

If you have binoculars or a small telescope and are far enough north, you should be able to view this visitor to our part of the solar system....

Unfortunately I have been unable to see it so far, as I am in Oklahoma and it is too close to the sun from my vantage point.

BRIGHTENING COMET: Comet McNaught is plunging toward the sun and brightening dramatically. It is now visible to the unaided eye both at sunset and at dawn. Amateur photographers have found that they can take pictures of the comet using off-the-shelf digital cameras with exposure times less than a second. Estimated visual magnitude: between 0 and -1. To see Comet McNaught, a clear view of the horizon is essential. In the morning, go outside and face east. The comet emerges just ahead of the rising sun. In the evening, face the other way--west. The comet pops out of the western twilight as soon as the sun sets. Binoculars reveal a pretty, gaseous tail. Northern observers are favored. The long, dark mornings and evenings of Canada, Scandinavia and Alaska are ideal for viewing this comet so close to the Sun. But the comet has been sighted in other places, too, as far south as Kansas in the United States and Italy in Europe.

Please visit http://spaceweather.com/ for photos, finder charts, and more information.

adapted from space weather news
photo by Alan Dyer, Alberta Canada