Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Decision

Over the past month or so I have been intermittently looking at graduate schools, as I plan to apply during this coming Fall (is that really only a week and a half away? heh heh, hooo boy...). While looking at graduate programs for Physics I came to a stunning realization: I don't particularly want to go to Physics grad school. It's not that I don't like Physics, far from it; it's just that I honestly can't see myself sitting in a lab and performing experiments for the rest of my life, or even in my near future. Also, it's difficult to find programs with the research that I want to do (*cough* metamaterials *cough*), and most of the other avenues of research that I am interested in easily fall into materials science, which is a different program all together.

So goes my first realization. As I continued to look at programs, I kept on noticing that they were occasionally offering something called "Physics Education." Intrigued, I checked it out and was instantly attracted. Here was a course of study based solely around finding and using better ways to teach people Physics. Some departments didn't have a full fledged Physics Education program but did have Science Education in which one could get a Physics specialty. And enter my second realization: I really like to teach.

I guess this second realization had its roots much earlier this year, when I started teaching classes at Skyline. Sure it was frustrating to get students to come to class and stick with the program, but when they did it was pretty awesome. And then with the GED program I got to branch out and help people learn about different subjects. When I began reading the descriptions of the Science Education depts. I connected the dots and saw that this was what I wanted to do with my life... or at least for the next few years.

So, I am going to forsake research for now and focus on learning to pass on what knowledge I have to others. I'm still debating on whether to go for a masters (lets me teach at high school or community college level) or for a doctorate, but hopefully I'll have that figured out before long.

Until next time...

"To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is nobler--and less trouble."
- Doctor Van Dyke speech, by Mark Twain, 1906


GregRup said...

Sounds like a good decision, Max! Where are they offering Science education?

Max said...

At quite a few schools, actually. The ones that I have the best opinion of right now are Ohio State, Illinois Urbana-Champagne, Rutgers and Stanford, though I have plenty of more schools to check out and whatnot.

Matthew said...

Best of luck with that, mate. Those 'aha!' moments are few, but they are sort of lovely.