Land of the Departed

by pphay

So as I sit here in front of the computer at Boys & Girls Club in between graduations it starts to sink in. I’m no longer an Explainer. Never again will I be able to put on that orange vest and tell students to walk in the museum or to check out the cool demos, or to try an explain what the purpose of Lariat Chain is. (Anyone know?)

I can still remember my first day as an Explainer, we all sat in a circle in the skylight area of the museum and talked about why we wanted to work at the ExpOratorium. We were people from all walks of life. Teachers, artists, musicians, youth developers, science nerds, tech geeks. We all had different reasons as to why we were at the ExplOratorium, but we all believed that the “science” of hands on learning was important. I can’t believe that was 3 years ago.

In the Field Trip Explainer program, after 3 years of service, you “graduate”. Yesterday I graduated from the Explainer program. Today as I make my rounds to the different schools to see young people that I work with graduate from their respective schools, it makes me think about what I learned during my tenure at the ExplOratorium. 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you why we have different color eyes, or why water spins as it goes down a drain rather than just straight down, or how The Drawing Board works. (actually i still don’t know what the deal with the drawing board is) I’ve learned a lot about science. But just like I tell the students, “don’t overwhlem yourself with the science; just think about things in simple terms and it will be easier to understand.” Simply what I’ve learned at the ExplOratorium is that learning doesn’t have to just happen in a classroom, teaching doesn’t have to just happen in a classroom. It can happen anywhere. Be it a classroom, a museum, an after school program, on a bus. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to be an Explainer. And although my time is up, the chances to teach and to learn and impact a young person’s views on science and learning is not over.