I FIND IT impressive how much the teachers attending the state’s new “ClimeTime” climate-science education seminars embrace being students for a change, throwing themselves into the role reversal. Heidi Roop, a University of Washington affiliate assistant professor and lead scientist for science communication at the Climate Impacts Group, who leads some of these workshops, says she thinks she learns more than she conveys, honing her messaging to best connect with future audiences.
This sort of mutual curiosity is infectious.
There is a similar energy in teacher Sadie Brumley’s classroom at Cathcart Elementary in Snohomish, albeit slightly more frenzied. These kids just love to learn, as their teacher so eloquently describes, no matter the topic. They want to soak up every last drop of knowledge. It’s been a while since my own schoolhouse days — St. Catherine’s Elementary (Pennsylvania) Class of 2001, represent — so there is something both innocent and inspirational about these kids’ eagerness to engage.
I get that climate change is controversial in some quarters, the very concept having been fashioned into a political cudgel for a while now. And I went into this week’s magazine cover story expecting more of a conflict: between Roop and her audience of teachers, and between Brumley and her students’ parents.
Yet what I found was a simpler, more straightforward story: about the pure love of teaching, and of learning, and about finding the very best way possible to do right by today’s schoolkids. I found the type of passion and commitment that makes you want to do better in your own endeavors, whether you agree with every part of the issue at hand, or not.