A Lesson in Teaching Lessons at Trinity River NWR

Before my internship with Environment for the Americas and USFWS, I had little to no experience in teaching or outreach. Much of my interests as well as my experience gained in university had been under the STEM category. As much as I loved biology, science and data,I didn’t have much practice interpreting that information to a wider audience such as the public outside of the scientific community.

I have now been at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge for half a year and have had the opportunity to not only help lead their Jr. Ranger outreach program but also learn many lessons throughout the semester. The first thing I learned throughout the teaching process was how much planning goes into every lesson and how much work is done before you even enter the classroom. I had helped teach a biology lab in my last year of university but I had never helped make an actual lesson plan. Figuring out the content to keep in the lesson while keeping it in the limited window of time we are given in the classroom was always a challenge but rewarding when we could fit all we wanted into the lesson.

The Jr. Ranger program is meant to teach elementary school students grade 3-5, and that in itself is another lesson. Lesson plans can be made but rarely go as planned. The students are going to react to a lesson and activity a certain way and you as an educator you have to reconfigure the mode of education. Adapting to a changing plan throughout the day and finding new ways to keep students engaged throughout the semester has taught me so much and I’m ready to keep teaching and keep learning this coming fall semester after the summer.

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