Thank you Dave Tompkins

There is no news release for this blog...I ask that you indulge me today as I write a long overdue thank you to the man who inspired me to become a biology teacher and to whom I am deeply grateful. I grew up during the perfect storm for science education. Post-Sputnik era support for science education with plenty of funding and research as well as the push to identify gifted children and place them in an accelerated curriculum that was discovery and inquiry based. Our community enjoyed a true partnership with the local General Electric Plant in Lawrence Park that resulted in state-of-the-art science facilities in a brand new junior/senior high school. All these stars aligned...but without an incredible group of science teachers (Spencer, Luce, Kring, Buzanowski, and Dave Tompkins), the opportunity to learn science in depth and by using the scientific method would have been lost. Of all of these great teachers, Mr. Tompkins was the finest. He taught me the art and science of teaching and a love for the life sciences in particular. As a first year teacher in a neighboring school district, I met with Mr. Tompkins, the man with the broad shoulders and eternal grin...the man that inspired me in ninth grade, coached our junior high football team and varsity swim team, and later went on to earn his doctoral degree and serve first as high school principal and later in a leadership role at a local university. We talked, in his classroom after school one day about teaching. I was worried that I wasn't reaching every student. He told me that I probably wouldn't...that he knew he hadn't. But he also said that I needed to be sure I reached out to every kid every day. Later in my career that spanned 35 years in public education, when I was teaching at the university level, I know that I channeled him in advice I would give aspiring science teachers...always be well prepared, be creative, listen to your students and watch them because they will teach you so much. Engage them with science as method and content. And, always be the one reaching out to them even when it seems they are unwilling to reach back. Dr. Tompkins passed away a few weeks ago, and when I left the funeral home, I knew this letter was long overdue. So here it is and I hope that for all of you who have been inspired by great teachers, you won't wait to write to them.

Related Articles from DetentionSlip (by tag)

ClickHeat : track clicks