Why teach when you have just researched?
Why would somebody get into teaching after doing a Ph.D., that too as a high school teacher? Well, this is surprising to most of the population, but being a survivor of a Ph.D. (almost all the Ph.D.'s would be able to feel this use of the word 'survivor' here) can surely defend this argument.
The moment I entered to deliver my first biology lesson, I started bombarding the kid with technical terms. Soon, I realized that these words were more of a tongue-twisting tool for them. For me, it was a struggle and I was shocked as to how people did not know common nouns in biology such as Lactobacillus! It took me a week to digest, analyze, and understand the real need of these students. Later, the kids realized that this lady is not going to stop using these terms, so the poor souls decided to incorporate this vocabulary into their lives to make mine easier!
Science is all about experiments and theories, but the most important aspect of science is to understand WHY we need to study all of it. And no doubt, this population is just perfect to work with, for this question. For me, being a researcher, it is fairly easy to connect basic concepts, that are being learned, to their application. In my science lab sessions, it is simple for me to educate them about good lab practices, as I have learned these through my experiences. It so happens, sometimes, that the experiments fail in the laboratory, and on numerous occasions, I too, have faltered in my own Ph.D. research experiments. The setbacks that I have faced have taught me a great deal, hence making it easy to troubleshoot the problems faced by the students. Trust me, no theory can help to develop this skill of troubleshooting the experiments. My research work has taught me to analyze each and every angle of a single experiment. This assists me to make the kids comprehend the complete science behind each experiment.
Lastly, it's not that I do not need to read or study for what I am catering to these kids. My research still continues on how easy and interesting the concepts can be made for the students. I aim to transfer the analytical (research) skills that I have learned to them while maintaining the fun factor of science. I am waiting for the "THE" question from their side, which I won't be able to find an answer to. And guess what? This question can become a research topic to the great scientists out there raised by a young budding scientist here!
Dr. Sona Sharma - Facilitator at DLRC