David P. Benz At Queens Academy High School Background and Educational Objectives David Benz Teaching Background • I started teaching SCUBA diving classes for national certification at the YMCA while I was a senior in high school. • In 15 years, I certified over 1000 divers at levels from beginning to pre-instructor. • My favorite was a certification in Niagara River, High-Speed diving. Diving Experiences • I have had the opportunity to SCUBA dive in several Great Lakes, New York’s Finger Lakes, quarries throughout the northeast U.S. & Canada, as well as in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. – Fossil collection in limestone quarries is a favorite diving activity. Downhill Skiing Instruction • In 1985, I took a skiing-instructors class and began teaching many SCUBA divers to ski. • I have been fortunate to ski in the Adirondack Mountains in New York, Colorado and Canadian Rocky Mountains, and the Fitzsimmons Range in British Columbia. Photography Instruction • I started teaching underwater photography for specialty certification in 1978. • Both SCUBA diving and photography require that you keep track of many variables simultaneously. – Merging the 2 was exciting and fun! Photography Instruction • I taught basic photography for many years. • A favorite class was “better pictures with disposable cameras” because it taught people how to view the subject artistically instead of concentrating on the mechanics of using a complex camera. Public School Teaching • I began teaching in public school during an undergraduate internship at Kensington High School. – I taught Earth Science in one of Buffalo’s most troubled high schools as students prepared for their Regent’s exams. Student Teaching • My first student teaching assignment was at Niagara Falls High School; the only high school in the city. – I taught Physics at the regular and honors levels and a class in Advanced- Placement Physics that was offered for college credit. Lancaster Middle • My next assignment was 7th grade physical science. • The school was not able to offer lab activities to students, but I provided a wealth of demonstrations to my students. New York City • I began teaching in New York in September 2004. • I have been teaching Earth Science, Physics, GED Science, and Regent’s Review classes at Queens Academy High School. New York Schools • I feel privileged to walk into my classroom each day, and my goal is to generate enthusiasm for science and learning. • Instruction is Standards-based, student-centered, and follows the NYS Core Curriculum. Educational Objectives • My first and foremost objective is to develop literacy across the curriculum. • I make an effort to improve every student’s literacy skills. – My Master’s in “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages” (TESOL) helps facilitate this goal. Educational Objectives • I develop critical thinking skills in my students. • I need them to look at something and ask why? or how? – More importantly, they need to be able to perform an investigation of their own design and answer their questions. Educational Objectives • My students will be better prepared for life after high school. – They will have the skills to help them perform in a career of their choosing. – Literacy is vitally important to this goal. Educational Objectives • My students will feel safe and respected in my classroom. • Every student is encouraged to participate to their highest level. • A student-centered learning environment is created with myself as the guide. Educational Objectives • Cultural diversity is accepted and embraced as an opportunity for greater learning and understanding. • Every culture has something to offer to our learning of science. Educational Objectives • Gender bias is not permitted in my classroom. – In coed science classes, boys will often lead, while girls observe and follow. – I insist that every student participates fully. Educational Objectives • Science instruction includes: literacy, mathematics, history, technology, social studies and even philosophy in addition to the science curriculum. • A good science teacher includes something from all the subject areas. The future • I will continue to teach in the largest school district in the U.S as long as I am able to bring a fresh approach to science topics each time I cover them.
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