The Noticers, the Mentors, and Me

The Noticers, the Mentors, and Me

Jennifer Rebecca Jolly Clair (Porter-Gaud School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5879-8.ch008
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This chapter reveals the development of a middle school teacher who savors the opportunity to share a long-standing admiration of science. Her ultimate goal is to develop future generations of curious, discerning, and informed world citizens. The author describes how a passion for noticing the world around her was ignited decades ago in her childhood and how mentors in early adulthood guided that passion into a career that she loves. Finally, she explains how the joy of discovery, her curiosity about the natural world, and the lessons she learned through immense support from her mentors combine to create a classroom environment in which all students find science accessible and inviting.
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My Story

As a science teacher, I instruct young minds about the power of observation. This is a skill passed on to me in a far less scientific manner during my childhood by adults who took notice of all things big and small. I refer to them as noticers rather than observers because, in my mind, it more accurately describes the way they interacted with the world around them. The word feels less sterile, less rigid, more natural. The noticers in my family encouraged in me the development of a deep adoration of the natural world. My parents and grandparents spent much of their lives outdoors and taught me to take notice of my surroundings. (True to their teachings, as I have typed this paragraph on my back porch, I have noticed a hummingbird at my ginger lily, two Carolina wrens, a mourning dove, and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.) Spending my childhood watching their interactions with the natural world molded me into the teacher and mother I am today. The memories I made with these noticers are the fuel for my love of science.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Teach: To share one’s knowledge, understanding, and passion for a topic with others.

Memory: A recollection of an experience that is meaningful to the learner.

Science: Asking questions and making observations to better understand the world around us.

Discovery: The joyful experience of learning something new.

Classroom: A space where learning takes place.

Experience: A time of discovery that leaves an impression on the learner.

Observe: Using one’s senses to pay close attention to an object or phenomenon.

Noticer: An observer; one who takes a keen interest in observing his/her surroundings.

Natural World: Earth’s biotic and abiotic elements surrounding us; not manmade.

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