Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Geography of Water

This is Professor Richard Kujawa, a colleague at St. Mike's and a fellow countryman who also left the "auld sod" to settle in the US and ultimately Vermont. Professor Kujawa teaches courses in Geography at St. Mike's and recently won the college-wide award for excellence in teaching. He has also recently developed and is currently teaching a course called the Geography of Water, a course I wish I could take and a course that is remarkably current (pardon the pun) given the events of the past week or so. Here's a neat series of pictures that shows much of the damage.

I would love to take the course because many years ago when I was an undergraduate, geography was my second major to my Education Major. Just like today's prospective teachers in Vermont I was required to double major so that I was an "expert" in something. With this "expertise" I could be a curriculum leader, an advocate for geography in schools; I could light up children's' eyes with intimate details of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. As it turned out I ended up focusing on math and science but I can still pick out an esker or a drumlin, spot an erratic and locate a raised river bank. Such was my interest and passion for geography much of what I learned all those years ago still remains even though I have barely used it in all those years.

Teacher education students at St. Michael's, and any other college in Vermont and most New England states, are required to have a second major in a liberal art subject; something like US Studies, History, Art, Environmental Studies, Math or English. Even those wishing to teach young children in the elementary school need to have an in-depth knowledge in a particular academic area; a requirement with which I wholeheartedly agree. A big part of education is the development of children's knowledge about the world, and if teachers have a passion for a particular subject, even in the kindergarten classroom, they will present children with wonderful intellectual role models, develop in them a passion for the subject, and become leaders and advocates at the school, district and national levels.

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