Friday, July 29, 2011

Science, My Love!

Science was introduced to my academics as both practical tool and inspired history by my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Janet Mock. Throughout my year in her 3rd/4th-grade split-class at Parkwood Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, students' horizons were broadened through unusual but highly effective techniques.

She fostered an unusually intimate and liberal social and scholastic environment. We were encouraged to grow as individuals and bond as a team, to build a structure of trust and curiosity. Lifelong friendships and defining memories were composed. As the process of learning became fun, joyful and exciting, our eyes opened to the endless possibilities of the universe. We performed Shakespeare's Macbeth, went on countless field trips to science, art and performance centers, math came in the form of games with names like "Spink!", she read literary masters to us by candlelight, used positive reinforcement in the way of class slogans that we would all shout together: "oh joy, oh rapture, it's spelling time!". She never underestimated our intelligence or curiosity. Class projects were team-oriented and challenging, personal relationships and youth dramas were deemed relevant to our growth and time was set aside to explore social issues. These practices and the tools acquired from them altered the course of my creativity and direction in life.

Seeds that were planted, flowered to become symbols of love. My study of rocks, stones and the depth of beauty within the earth inspired me to study geology as an undergraduate with a fascinating professor who's passion also ignited my own. Theories of evolution, mass extinction, and concepts of time and space offered endless opportunities to analyze reality. This new understanding of the relationship between internal and external worlds served as validation of my personal experiences in enlightenment and spirituality.

The premise of this blog is to remind myself and my readers (all five of you) to stay open to the exploration of all things. Through discovery and awareness, what may look plain on the surface, must surely contain something extraordinary, if we can only stand still long enough to question and yet also trust its reality, even if that reality seems foreign. I have experienced  a stream of natural energies released by this process of leaving one's mind open, which then can alter perception and experience. Isn't this the magic of life? How often do we stand still long enough to discover a hidden truth?

Mrs. Mock activated my interest in education as a fundamental tool for understanding and participating in our universe. There have been other formative teachers in my schoolingmy English teacher, Mr. Steve Kelly at Shorewood High School, my involvement with Washington State art camp, Centrum, along with my entire elementary school experience at Parkwoodthat I plan to honor further in future postings. My deepest respect goes out to these facilitators for relaying information in a constructive and stimulating fashion. From my perspective as a student, when the learning process reaches far beyond textbooks and deadlines and pushes one to question everything previously learned, we become inspired to dig deeper and make connections out of sheer passion. To me, this is the miracle of teaching.

What inspires you?

The idea for this post came after discovering my new favorite store in Manhattan, The Evolution Store, located in SoHo.  Additionally, I can't wait to visit The American Museum of Natural History...oh, what new adventures await me here in New York City!!!