Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome to the Lion Tamers Guide to Teaching!

All I really need to know about teaching I learned as a lion tamer.

Apologies to Robert Fulghum

After working as a zookeeper and wild animal trainer for five years at the St. Louis Zoo while I was working on my undergraduate biology degree, I decided to try my hand at taming lions.

Why I did that, I'll tell you about later.

But I did it. And it was an amazing experience, as you might imagine.

And it was nothing like most people think!

I'll tell you more about that later, too.

After almost a year as an apprentice lion tamer, I decided to leave that profession and enter another profession that I am also passionate about . . . teaching.

For many years, I continued to work with wild animals part-time and during some summers. Even today, I have a strong interest in wild animal training and consider myself a serious student of the art and science of "lion taming."

I'm also a serious student of the art and science of teaching. As a student-practitioner of teaching, I've come to understand that a lot of the principles of good teaching and good lion-taming are very similar, if not the same.

Part of being a good student is taking good notes. So I thought I'd start this blog so I can "take notes" on what I've discovered.

Mainly it's to help me learn and think about and integrate what I'm learning as I continue in my life as a lion-tamer-turned-teacher. But I hope that some of what I share may get you thinking differently about your own teaching . . . and maybe even help you solve some problems now or in the future.

And I also hope this blog will be a forum for other teachers to share what they've learned, too!