Why I Teach Ocean Education
Lori Roberts is a high school biology teacher in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Lori is a leader in ocean education and is a graduate of National Geographic Education’s two-year professional development program, the National Teacher Leadership Academy.
Lori is pictured at left with Gil Grosvenor, former Chairman of the National Geographic Society and Education Foundation.
I love the ocean and have great respect for it. For me, it all began during a family vacation to Pensacola Beach, Florida. At the time, I was 11 and a very weak swimmer. As I played, the undertow pulled me further out. When I realized I was in trouble, seawater was already rushing over my head and I began to struggle.
My mom saw me, but she could not swim. Helplessly, she yelled for someone to save me. A young hero responded; he swam across the waves and retrieved me. My Mom cried, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” and he yelled back,” ¡De nada!”
Rather than filling me with fear, that first experience made me determined to learn.
At the age of 16, I received my lifeguard license from the Red Cross, and at 25 I was taking graduate courses in marine biology at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. When I became a teacher, I was determined to include ocean education in my science classes. However, as time went by, my interest diminished in light of other priorities.
In 2010, two events changed my view of ocean education: the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and National Geographic Education’s National Teacher Leadership Academy in San Diego. My zeal for the ocean was renewed and I was armed with multiple resources. It is now my fondest wish to inspire readers to use National Geographic Education’s Marine Ecology, Human Impacts, and Conservation unit.
Please join me each week as I discuss different activities from the unit and share the learning experiences of my students. As Christopher Reeve once said, “Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool, or you go out in the ocean.”