Sharon Stroud can't remember when she wasn't interested in trying to understand more about how the environment around her worked. Her seventh grade science teacher had a strong background in geology and his enthusiasm combined with her natural curiosity sparked her interest in earth science. By the end of seventh grade she knew she wanted to teach earth science. She went to college and earned a B.S. degree in education with a comprehensive major in earth science and is currently working on a M.S. degree in earth science. In school she took as many geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography courses as she could.
Sharon teaches high school students in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each day she has three classes of earth science, one of geology and one of astronomy. To prepare for class, she sets up labs, prepares worksheets and lectures, arranges for guest speakers, organizes field trips, grades papers, and makes and grades tests. In evening sessions, she helps students to identify constellations and use telescopes. She tries to help her students develop an appreciation of how earth science directly influences their lives through earthquakes, landslides, flooding, and mineral resources distribution. She wants them to be aware of the ways human activities impact our planet and the environmental problems they will face as adults. She gives them as many opportunities as possible to practice communication and math skills. She is constantly seeking out new information, curricula and activities for her students. She sees her major role as a teacher to be a facilitator and resource person to help students expand their intellects. Teaching allows her to be creative and try new methods and material. She likes working with students and seeing them grow in their abilities. It is wonderful when you can see the "light bulb" turn on as a student grasps a concept.
Sharon is very active in professional societies. She was president of the National Earth Science Teachers Association from 1986-1988 and has held leadership roles in the National Science Teachers Association and the Colorado Science Teachers Association. In the summers of 1989 and 1990 she was a presentation coordinator for teacher workshops at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She spends part of her summer vacations taking classes or workshops (such as one on Mt. St. Helens and other Cascade Volcanoes) so she can learn more about geoscience and share ideas about teaching with other earth science teachers.
If you are interested in earth science, Sharon suggests you "talk to your teacher or counselor and, if possible, someone who is working in the field you are interested in. Take as much science and math as you can during high school. Remember that communication skills are also a very important part of almost any job today. Look carefully at colleges to make sure they have programs that will meet your career goals. Have confidence in yourself. If you are interested in teaching, definitely pursue that career. Being a teacher when your children are school age is great because you have much of the same time off together. As a teacher you may not make as much money as in another job, but other benefits make it a great career. We really need young dedicated teachers."