In the following paragraphs you will find some insight as to what brought Mr. B. to become a community college instructor of Biology and related topics.
I grew up in Everett WA the fourth son of a carpenter. My fours brothers and I were "big" city kids, while our grandparents lived in smaller towns outside of Everett. One set owned a farm in Marysville and the other in the town of Tolt. Our family was pretty normal with the pre-functionary daily fights because someone did something to someone else. My brothers, Dennis and Randy, and I would terrorize the neighborhood or play baseball to all hours.
During my time in cub and boy scouts as a youth, I had the opportunity to raise rabbits. This started as a scout project, but quickly turned into a sort of business of selling pelts for slippers or whatever. I was fascinated by the care and upkeep of making sure that the rabbits were successful. The hardest part was the harvest, until I discovered the internal anatomy. Since my maternal grandmother owned a farm with various animals she used for income, I would try to find a way to be on the farm when the various anatomists (think butcher) would come to harvest the animals. I was impressed by the similarities and dissimilarities of the various animals. The various organs systems and how they would work in unison for the organism, started me on the road to understanding science as a means to explain how life's mechanisms keep organisms alive. While my rabbit business didn't last long nor make me millions of dollars for retirement, it nonetheless started a fire.
Possibly the next turning point in my quest for understanding biology came while I was attending Everett Community College. As a student without much of a rudder, but lots of ideas, I took a course in Marine Biology for the strongest reason possible. It fit my schedule. What I remember most of this course was how confused the material made me feel. The instructor didn't seem to know how to talk to me personally about the topic. He was very knowledgeable about the topic, but lacked a pizzazz about relaying the information he had to his students. Lab sessions were great because I could do experiments to explain the topics covered in lecture. I enjoyed looking and studying all of the marine critters that were either caught and released from the surrounding beaches or the preserved specimens on display, but I felt that to reach students in science the instructor needs to be sold on the topic. Once sold, students can feel the magic and learn biology without feeling like it is a drudgery.
My time on active duty in the Navy opened my eyes to how science is applied to the care and treatment of organisms (you call them patients). The didactic knowledge of anatomy and physiology were applied with every patient you had the opportunity to assist in their care. Knowing how medications or treatments could and would be used in assisting their body to heal itself was in reality quite awesome. I enjoyed the opportunity to explain to the patients how this or that treatment was going to make a difference in the care, but what was really fascinating was trying to use analogies to insure that the patient really understood the information I was disseminating. I think this is when I embraced education as a possible career. I continued this pursuit for the rest of my naval career, I just wasn't sure what I wanted to teach.
After my active duty, I went back to school and met Dr. Alcorn while at the University of Puget Sound. This man was in my opinion the epitome of a college instructor. He would draw you into his lectures by relating the material to each individual. His demeanor emanated a confidence in subject matter, an openness to any question, a kind spirit of friendliness, and possibly most importantly, a willingness to develop your confidence in mastering various topics. Through his tutelage it became clear that I wanted to teach at the community college level. I felt frustrated by the difficulty of the topics in biology at times and felt the same vibes from peers in the college system. I thought that if I could further my education I could impart the ideas of biology science to students that maybe feel the feelings towards science that I had experienced.
Lastly, my experiences while working as an electron microscopist at the University of Washington Medical School put the final pieces together to mold me into the person that I am today. In this position I was required to stay current with research information to help the research team use our research dollars wisely. This position also gave my students an inside track to how what they were learning actually has a direct application to how they live their lives or could lead to possible career changes.
I tell my students today to keep thinking, observing, and learning because they would never know which doors or windows may open.