To Belize!

My goal in life is to save the world.

I have said that so many times and the usual response is a scoff or an eye roll.

In earnest, my friends, I mean it. We absolutely must achieve this goal and I wholeheartedly believe the way to do it is through education. On my last expedition to Galapagos, the video team captured this footage which I think helps capture my work, take a looksy, then continue reading below:

I constantly seek ways to reach students in new ways, currently, I work in a science laboratory setting where students from PreK-grade 5 come to me for their science instruction. I take an application based approach where I place students in situations where they have to really think their way out and in the process are learning science concepts, teamwork, and fieldwork protocols.

This can happen in any subject and for any age students, in fact my first seven years of teaching were across all subjects in fifth grade and I used this approach for Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Using skills in a practical way is important to me when I plan experiences for my students. For the past six years, I have had to opportunity to specialize in science and therefore my craft has been focused in that subject matter. In the last few years, I have switched a few terms up in the classroom, really focusing on this concept of expeditions and field science. More on that later! The attention I give to authentic application of skills is what sets my class apart from others. In no way do I mean to imply this is better, rather that it is a different approach. One that I feel students have come to know, understand, and enjoy more than more traditional approaches. They need to know and see that what we are teaching in school IS relevant and will help them be successful in life; this is the way that I have chosen to get that point across.

In order to plan and provide these experiences, it is necessary to experience them myself. That is why in the last year and a half, I have made it a point to get into the field. I want to experience the application of science skills so that I can then scale it for my scientists. Again, not to imply this is a better approach, rather a different one that I have found invaluable to my professional development. I am constantly pushing myself to be a better educator for my students, which means I need to find ways to constantly develop and learn. Not only does this make me a better educator, it serves as a way to show my students learning is always important no matter your season in life. Being in the field provides ME with authentic application of skills which I then scale for my students, I am learning content AND application then providing the same for my students.

This past week has been filled with exciting and scary moments. There are several opportunities that have come up that will require major decisions that are possibly life-altering. It is incredibly exciting and scary at the same time but I am a firm believer that if your goals are not scary, they are not big enough. One of these scary/exciting opportunities is to travel to Belize this summer to train teachers as a Limited Resource Teacher Training Fellow. While in Belize, I will work with local teachers, identify their needs, provide training, coaching, and support while there in country, and I am certain, beyond. I will also engage in some field work, but those details are yet to be determined. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and know that although I am traveling there to serve others, I will undoubtedly learn more than I could ever deliver to someone else. I might actually be getting the better end of the deal, but don’t tell THEM that. Deal?

The necessity for continuous growth, learning, and collaboration are real in the world of education. I was just speaking with a friend, Sean Gaillard about sharing in the world of education. As I was speaking, the phrase “How can we be silent?” was ringing in my ears which is a line from a religious song I love. All I could think and talk about was ‘How can we be silent when we have so much to share?’ I think of all of the ideas that I have tried or were sparked from a conversation or idea shared by someone else.

So. Many.

What keeps us from continuing to grow, learn, collaborate?

Is it fear?

Do we think we have nothing to share?

Do we not see the special things that set our classrooms apart from others? Again, not meant to say any idea is better than others or Teacher A is better than B, rather different, and that is beautiful. We ALL have something to share. I would actually say we have a lot to share with one another and we cannot be silent. We need to share, we need to collaborate, and we need to realize what sets us apart so that we can grow as a community committed to educating the future. We will not save the world without a collaborate, strong, united effort.

How can we be silent when our students need us?

Let’s break that silence.

Let’s collaborate.

Let’s grow together.

Let’s save the world.

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#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee

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Becky Schnekser

Becky Schnekser

#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee

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