Since it was my first time teaching biology and I didn’t have a degree in it, the science lead teacher (who had been teaching biology for many years) would come in from time to time to do lab investigations with my students. Whenever she would come in, she would basically take over the class, and I would sit down with one of the groups of students and do the lab investigation along with them.
My biology students were well aware of the fact that I was not too fond of biology. They also knew that my subject of expertise was chemistry, not biology, so they didn’t expect me to know all of the answers. I think they appreciated that at times I was learning right alongside them. And I loved sitting down with my students. It was as if we were all in it together; a group of folks sitting down, learning biology content, together.
After teaching chemistry for several years I was asked to teach a leftover section of physics, and I was like “sure, why not?” There were about 10 students in the class, and I had taught chemistry to more than half of them one or two years before. To those students I was not a physics teacher; I was a chemistry teacher, who just happened to be teaching physics.
My physics students and I would often solve problems together. I enjoyed the challenge and the students did too. Yes, working with my students to learn physics content was rewarding for them and for myself.
When I taught chemistry, I would stand in front of the class most of the time and was the center of attention - the "sage on the stage". But, when I taught biology and physics, I was more of a "guide on the side".
It's okay to just sit down and learn along with your students. This can make you a member of the class team striving for understanding.
You can stand on the stage and be the sage. You can sit alongside and be a guide.
For goodness’ sake, will you please sit down? Sometimes?