Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ask and ye shall receive

Earlier this week I went to visit another school, Colegio San Luis Gonzaga. Like some of the other schools I have visited, it is a private Catholic school for girls. I learned that Gonzaga is the oldest school in the province of San Luis, and it has an excellent reputation. Though I had a great visit this morning, that isn't the topic of this post. Rather, I wanted to comment on the way that my visits have evolved here.

About a week ago I wrote to a friend that I was a little bit frustrated because I hadn't been as successful as I had initially hoped in visiting schools. Soon after I received responses from not one, but two teachers that I had been hoping to work with. I now have a standing invitation to come help out at the university school, and I've been invited to give a physics lesson at Gonzaga next week. There is also talk of having me come visit the English classes to give a presentation as a native speaker, which would be neat too. I spent Monday afternoon at Aleluya helping a teacher with a lesson involving video analysis, which is something I have a lot of experience with. It's a really powerful tool for teaching physics, because the students can capture their own videos and analyze the physics behind them. Talk about a solid connection to physics in the real world!

The Ah-ha moment of the day came when I was meeting with some of the administrators at Gonzaga. We were discussing my project, and they asked what other schools I had visited. I rattled off the short list, and said that I'd been hoping to visit others but it hadn't panned out. The preceptora (I am almost positive that that was her title, but if you happen to be reading this please accept my apologies if I got it wrong) offered to contact her husband, who works at another school here in town. By the time the Director of Gonzaga's secondary school had finished showing me around, she had set up an appointment for the following morning for me to meet her husband and the physics teacher at his school. She also offered to contact any other school that I might be interested in visiting.

My mentor at the university has been great helping me meet local physics teachers, but the ones that he knows seem to be teachers who also work at the university or teachers who have gone through his master's program. There are a load of other schools out there, and I am thrilled to have an "in" so I can get a broader perspective on how physics is taught in the public sector. I am really impressed by the way this worked out. Now all I need to do is kick this sinus infection and I'll be back in business!

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