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Ocean Awareness

Heather is a Primary Teacher from Canada who is currently working in London through Protocol Education. Heather's Protoblog today reveals how her previous work as an animal trainer helps her get past her student's preconceived ideas about "boring supply teachers"! 

While many people shy away from the intimidating pupils they may encounter while supply teaching, I have embraced the opportunity to show myself to them as an individual. I explain aspects of my life to my students before establishing myself as their teacher for the day.

During my time at University I was a marine mammal trainer. This involved caring for and learning the behavior of; dolphins, walruses, seals, and sea lions. Not only was this enriching as I learned more about their cognitive and psychological motives and abilities but I also came to understand animals in a way that allowed me to re-animate them to children. After all, what child hasn't (at one point or another) fantasized about being an animal trainer themselves?!

My animal trainer stories help to get students interested in me as a person and encourage them to let go of their preconceived perceptions of a "boring supply teacher". I swam with dolphins and performed in shows of up to 5,000 spectators! So, why am I a teacher? Why would I choose to be THERE!?

Introducing myself and including a slideshow of my experiences allows my students to see me as someone they're interested in hearing MORE from.
I then progress to asking students identify the animals I've worked with and ask them about what they know about their features - characterized with a few personal retelling of stories - and they are hooked into hearing more about what I have to say regarding their environment.

Every little thing we do affects our planet. By raising students' awareness about how they are connected to these animals they've told me about they begin to recognize the impact they have on our planet through small seemingly insignificant actions and decisions.

These are the people who will be changing our planet.  I am very good at speaking with students who normally tune out in class,  getting them to be proactive in planning and acknowledging their role in preventing further damage and allowing their children to share in the same wonders they do.

For example, The Great Barrier Reef is no longer the Number 1 place to dive. We have ruined it! We need to take action, and we need to be aggressive about speaking and sharing what we are seeing. This includes the use of dynamite to fish in poorer areas - like Borneo. People lack the food and knowledge, the equipment and the ability to fish in standard ways. We take a lot for granted on the surface, and our bubble of ignorance needs to be popped.

Protocol Education's Facebook  Twitter - Pinterest

More environmental education Protoblogs: 

Green Classroom: Saving Energy

Out to the Garden!

Tags: Heather, Primary Teacher,Canadian-trained, Ocean, Environment, Teach in London, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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