Supporting Your Local Life Science Teacher

Here is a way you can support the Life Science teachers in your local school. Give them a poster or a hat or a T-shirt or a book or something. I'll tell you why in a moment.

First, you have to find the teachers and start up a relationship with them. I have various relationships with various teachers around the Twin Cities area, but strangely enough my efforts to strike up a relationship with the Life Science teachers at Coon Rapids has led to nothing. The school is very close to my house. I go by it every day to do one thing or another. But when I've emailed the staff there I've never received a reply, so I'm guessing that maybe they are really busy. I'll try again. I'll let you know how that goes.

But never mind that.

The point I want to make is this: There is a very good chance that the evolutionary biology loving life science teachers in your local school work with other teachers who are creationists. Even some of their fellow life science teachers may be creationists. Most likely, the "real" biologists on the faculty avoid confrontation with the creationists because they don't want to mess with the whole "freedom of religion" thing, but quite often, creationists are not so polite. This is because their religion encourages them, in many cases, to be evangelical, which is another way of saying that God does not want them to be polite and keep their mouths shut. For this reason, outside the classroom, one tends to have a certain amount of seepage of creationist talk, all of which is utterly inappropriate in the context of a life science teaching and learning facility. They may wear creationist T-shirts or hats, or put up posters.

I know of a case in a different state a few years back when a creationist who happened to be a biology teacher put up anti-Evolution and anti-Darwin posters over her desk. The other teachers asked her to take them down, but she asserted that it was her right to put these up over her own desk in her own workspace in the office area, where students were not allowed.

One of the real biology teachers went to an administrator, explained the situation, and noted that students were often in the teachers' area taking proctored tests, and that they often had a couple of teaching assistants around. The administrator was not concerned about the creationist's claims of "rights" and she was forced to take the posters down.

But what if the real biology teachers wanted to put up a poster having to do with Evolution, or Darwin? Would that be violating the rights of the creationist? No, of course not. Why? Because it is real. A Darwin poster (or a poster of any other great biologist) or some kind of evolutionary biology thing (cartoon, chart, diagram, inspirational poster, whatever) would be utterly appropriate for the faculty office area, lab prep rooms, or classrooms. Evolutionary biology coffee cups, hats, T-shirts, pendants, or other paraphernalia would liven up the place, and remind everyone what they are doing there.

And, these things would annoy the creationist. Not because one wants to annoy the creationist ... no one is creating a hostile work environment or anything. The display of imagery, iconography, informational material, and symbology of Evolutionary Biology in a place where Evolutionary Biology is taught and learned is utterly appropriate. If someone has a problem with that, then this is their problem. Nobody ever said that a Garlic Processing Factory had to accommodate Vampires.

So, this is my suggestion. Go to your favorite supply house for cool evolutionary biology stuff. The NCSE store has a couple of items. Or find someposters onevolutionary biology, or nicebooks that can serve as reference materials, and give them to your local Life Science teachers. Give these things to the ones you know are real biology teachers. If you give such items to the creationists, they may melt or something.

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The creationist teacher in my school was a fellow math teacher. Because I am old he would come to me with those "life is impossible" probability scenarios and we would talk about conditional probability and the misuse of the multiplication principle. I don't know if he was ever convinced but we were always good friends. I could give him a t-shirt and he would laugh. Now that I am retired, I will bring something in.

I agree that creationists have a tendency to act in a certain way that is loud and inconsiderate to evolutionists views. I am a creationist teacher myself. However, my classroom has more evolution/fossil record posters, and a huge geologic timescale chart than a creation-based poster simply because it is very hard to source them. My aim as a life science teacher is to present both evolution and creation theories and point out what has been overlooked in the current 'evidence' in both theories. It is not our job as life science teachers to push for either theory to 12-14 year olds.

I came to this website looking for answers but I am disappointed that it has more to do with anti-this and anti-that than what the heading describes.