First, let’s discuss what the “Sage on the Stage” is and what this looks like in a K-12 classroom. When I was a student, I assumed my teacher knew everything. And I mean, everything. I suppose as a kid we assume that our parents and other adults are the holders of knowledge and they will impart their wisdom on us when we are old enough to understand and retain that information. To some extent, this is true. Our parents and other adults teach us how to walk, talk, and interact with the world by modeling that behavior for us. As children, we are taught right from wrong, right from left, and how to write and read.
I know there are many great answers to the question, “what would you bring with you if you were stranded on a desert island?” Let me tell you why I’m bringing duct tape.
The power of speech is amazing. Someone else's words can uplift you or give you the motivation to make a difference. For me, I was inspired by a TED Talk at an educational conference. The first words from the speaker told the truth about our produce in our grocery stores. He said, “Did you know that the average apple at the grocery store is anywhere from 6-14 months old from the time it was picked off a tree.” At that moment, I was hooked. I kept listening and I couldn’t believe the engrossing facts about our food. In fact, I didn’t want to believe it and so I did my research. Sure enough, the presenter was right.
It’s hard to imagine in the 21st century that there are young women in the United States who don’t know that girls can become scientists. That was my belief, anyway. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to women who taught science classes, women who had professions in the medical field, and women who were experts in their field guiding me through my undergraduate research experiences. There was no doubt to me that a woman could become a scientist. Challenging? Sure. Unique? Sometimes. But I never considered that there were young girls in the world who had no idea that women could become scientists.
With over a decade of experience as an educator, I want to share some of the best practices that I've discovered for bringing the real world into the classroom.