2009 SummerBloggers :: Natalie James

Name:  Natalie James   NatRae
Breakthrough Site: Sacramento
Subject Teaching:  7th Grade Biology  – Genetic Focus
School Attending/Year:  UC Davis Class of 2010

What are you most looking forward to this summer? What do you imagine you will need to rely on your fellow teachers for?

When I first applied to Breakthrough Collaborative in Sacramento (BSAC!), I was most excited about the lesson plans. I had so much fun filling out the application (which asks for an example lesson plan) that I became really psyched about the idea of having that responsibility. I knew I had to figure out a way to engage a group of students in a new idea. The creative juices I felt churning around in my head as I worked on draft after draft had gone long unused. It felt good to stretch that muscle again. I have spent the last few years slaving away in the sciences here at UC Davis. I have taken more scantron tests on biochemical heebie-jeebies than I care to recall at the moment. I have learned vast amounts of information, much of it truly fascinating. I have learned that the endless challenges and hard work have huge, meaningful rewards. I have become even more passionate about genetics now that I have a knowledge base in the subject. But what good is having all this love and passion and enthusiasm bottled up inside you when you have no outlet? (I can’t bring myself to count the little bubbles on the scantron tests as outlets.) I realized that I not only wanted to share my love of the sciences – I wanted to share my love of learning, my faith in the success that hard work and dedication can bring.

Once I learned that I would be given the opportunity to teach science this summer at BSAC, I was overjoyed. I was nervous. I was jumping up and down, I was running to the library looking at teaching books, I was scribbling “lab activity” ideas in the margins of my notes on prokaryote genetic analysis. Now, even more than my initial thrill of planning lessons, I find myself going on and on (to the unfortunate souls who ask) about how excited I am to share my love of the sciences and my dedication to lifelong learning with these students. My students. Can you believe it?

This summer, I imagine I will turn to my fellow teachers for many things. First, I know that when I begin O-Week in just a few short days, I will quickly make close friends. We’ve already been e-mailing each other, sharing snippets about ourselves and bursting at the seams with enthusiasm. We have already adopted the Breakthrough Way (B-Dub!) and I can’t wait to share it with the students who step off the bus this summer. But being ready for them when they come, morning after morning, bright and early, full of life and all its challenges – that is another story. And that is when I know I will rely on the strong network of supportive friends that I already know my fellow teachers will be – above and beyond the call of duty. Because that’s B-Dub.

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2 Responses to 2009 SummerBloggers :: Natalie James

  1. Nathalie A says:

    hey natalie!

    thanks so much for your blog post. i too care about making creative hands on, student -based activites and am excited to engage my students critically in learning. look forward to hearing more you!

  2. Molly says:

    Yay Natalie! You are awesome and you’re performing beautifully!

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