I graduated from Otterbein University right as the Great Recession began. I accepted a job teaching English in Korea, believing that it would provide me with not only financial security but also opportunities to experience a new country with a rich culture. What I did not know was that it would infuse me with a passion for teaching as well.
Following my year in Korea, I enrolled at DePaul University to earn a teaching degree. This was during the time that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were being written and released, and as a part of my studies, I followed their progress. This new framework for teaching science called for a level of content depth and scientific practice that I found to be incredibly exciting, especially compared to the way I learned science as a K–12 student.
After receiving my graduate degree, I worked for Chicago Public Schools as a middle school science teacher and for the District of Columbia Public Schools for a total of 9 years. Between my teaching positions, I also worked as an Education Coordinator for National Park Trust, an organization I still hold near and dear to my heart. Throughout all this I was tasked with writing and revising curriculum. I left my teaching position last school year, determined to follow my passion for writing engaging curricula, which led me to the National Center for Science Education.
I have found within NCSE a community of like-minded professionals, committed to supporting teachers in their efforts to teach evolution, climate change, and other socially — but not scientifically — controversial topics. As a part of my work, I match NGSS standards and related topics to different misconceptions students have. From there, I create a series of lessons in which students engage with evidence, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Students follow a storyline, asking their own questions and discovering answers using real data. My hope is that the “sticky” — interesting, and hence easy to retain — science behind our lessons inoculates students against misconceptions they may encounter elsewhere.
Outside of my work, I enjoy being in nature, especially swimming, hiking, and birdwatching. I also enjoy traveling to different countries and visiting parks in our amazing National Park system.
Blake Touchet, Partnership Specialist