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Teacher Stereotypes: Science Edition

Science Under the Microscope

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No ...  it's a Science teacher!

For me, any summer get-together has always brought one of the strangest phenomena related to being a Science teacher. I am both perplexed and amused when it happens.

Surrounded by distant relatives around a picnic table or rubbing elbows with newfound friends watching a baseball game, it inevitably gets out that I am a Science teacher.


Teacher Stereotypes: Science EditionThe conversation that follows often sounds like this:

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"You teach Science? Well, I have this thing on my back. I think that it might be a mole. Would you take a look at it?"

"Since you're a Science teacher, can you give me some advice on this roof I'm installing?"

"I want to make my homemade bread come out more fluffy. Any recommendations?"

"Ooh, a Science teacher. Can you help me setup my new HD television?"

"If Godzilla and Tyrannosaurus Rex got into a fight, who would win?"

There seems to be no end to the scope and depth of knowledge that we Science teachers possess. I suppose I understand why some members of the public have this perception.

It's likely that at some point each of us had known a Science teacher who seemed to know the answer to every question, to be an expert in everything: a gray-bearded old man (or disheveled and spectacled older woman) who spouted facts about insects or molecules or pulsars that astounded and humbled everyone who met him.

It's not necessarily that I mind being asked such ridiculous questions, because I honestly get intrigued by the eventual search for a correct answer. I guess my biggest gripe is with the misconceptions about Science that this habit brings to light. Too many people think of Science as a static collection of facts, housed in the minds of a chosen few, an ivory tower of knowledge.

I wish that more people would begin to see Science as a means of answering these questions through rational and deliberate investigation. That's the message that I push in my own classroom, and that is the idea that will instill in more people the desire to find answers themselves...instead of showing me their moles.

What stereotypes do you encounter as a teacher? Share in the comments section!