The courses I am working on is a course on wetlands and a course on soils. Both are geared towards practitioners in erosion and sediment control and stormwater management. These are people who need to know the basics but definitively do not need to become experts. In a way they need to be able to interpret reports that they get to review or understand that they need a report when they did not get one. Having worked intensively as a wetland scientist since 1994 and been involved in soils all the way back since the early 1970s, it is fun developing classes that interesting and applicable. Thanks goodness, I have a friend, a fellow teacher and a soil scientist (all wrapped up in one person) who is partnering me on the soils class. David will also be helping me teach it; we make a great team when we are on the road.
In my class design and delivery I rely on my life experience, dating all the way back to my college years in the mid 1970s. Yes, I have that advantage, I have all this experience. However, I feel that in the past six years I have somewhat stagnated in my professional field. I can't believe that I've been away from field work and into the class room (and class design room) for that long, having to rely on my past experience and on stories that I now hear from colleagues.
This realization that I have such a multifarious experience came rushing back to me these past few weeks or so since I received a surprise email from an old high school friend of mine who lives in a foreign country. It was fun to hear from her, and in writing back made me relive a lot of my life back then, but also between the time that we parted our ways and now. I wrote her a very brief email where I described what happened to my wife and I during the passed 38 years and our world travels. Just thinking about that email makes my head spin, which is why we typically don't mention it to people, because when we do, we mostly get blank stares. But yes, I (we, my wife and I) need to write (a book?) about our experiences in particular about the time we lived in Uganda in the late 1970s under Idi Amin.
I kind of miss being out there in the field and making new experiences. I am starting to notice that I am getting rusty. Thanks goodness I still learn and gain other experiences and expertise by fixing my sail boat, sailing and traveling through Virginia; I will never stop learning. Hopefully I can apply my boat stories to my teaching one of these days. If you are a teacher I hope you too reach in that big bag of experience you are carrying on your back.
|On a work trek with my wife (and one of our two dogs) in the mountains of Nepal in 1982 or 83. I sometimes had to walk 7 days for a an one hour meeting and walk back seven days. Thanks goodness it was through the project area and I always had my eyes and ears open to do project (extension) type work and talk natural resources conservation. This is probably close to the hill (looking at it) that dammed the Kali Gandaki valley by a landslide after this year's earthquake.|