First Impressions From a Teacher Extern

2006-07-13 23:09:22.000 – Rick Comeau,  Teacher Extern

On the 27th of June I said good-bye to my middle school students and with my science classrroom in disarray and several end-of-the-year forms still in my mailbox, I left to begin my five week teacher externship at the Mount Washington Observatory. What a difference 24 hours and a 180 miles makes! One would think I had transported to a very different part of the world; a world defined by clouds, wind, rain and measured by countless weather instruments and digital technologies.

In one nights sleep I had time warped from familiar surroundings, loved ones and creature comforts of home, to having acquired a ‘new’ family, bunk mates, a new work environment, weather terminology, forms, databases, measuring devices and innumerable databases. The learning curve is high.

Immersion and humbling would define my first week. Immersed in the on-going tasks of weather observing and data recording. Immersed in learning the routine and pace of the 24 hour day. Immersed in learning new terms: weather ob, synoptics, METAR, B-16, to name a few. Immersed in the process of doing science and using multiple technologies to collect, input and make sense of weather data. Humbling to feel the force of a 99mph wind gust as I stood balanced at a 45 degree angle. Humbling to feel that the more I learned, I recognized what I didn’t know. Humbling to have to ask others endless questions. Humbling to witness a sunset and fireworks far below in the valley as I sat in the lee of the wind on the western slope of the summit. Humbling in that the written language inadequately conveys what weather feels like here on the summit of the world’s worst weather!


Rick Comeau,  Teacher Extern

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