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Mr. Tracy Eric Katzke » Mr. Katzke's Wonderful World of Physics!

Mr. Katzke's Wonderful World of Physics!

 
My Teaching Philosophy:
 
 

A former scholar at Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery, possessing a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, I received perfect scores on the Quantitative Reasoning sections of the DAT and the Praxis I Math Assessment. In addition, I am a proud recipient of the "ETS Recognition of Excellence Award" for attaining a score of 195 on the General Science: Content Knowledge Praxis II Examination for teacher licensure in the state of NJ. Lastly, I have been employed as a part-time lecturer and TA for the Rutgers University Physics Department.

 

Successful Math and Science instruction require recognizing that these disciplines are composed of concepts that must be comprehended and not memorized. If one must memorize something to apply it, it is indicative of inadequate comprehension of the subject matter. Other than rudimentary facts and formulae, memorization should never be necessary.

 

Effective physics instruction focuses on teaching the "Why" behind every concept and ensuring that the student can successfully respond to questions posed in multiple contexts. Memorization, the lowest form of learning in the Cognitive Domain of Bloom's Taxonomy, will only allow the student to accurately respond to a particular question in the precise context in which they memorized it. In contrast, well- comprehended procedures, theories, etc., will facilitate the practical higher-order reasoning required to arrive at the proper solution, regardless of the context in which it is presented. Higher-order thinking is a very valued skill in today's workforce, and its development and cultivation in my students are central to my instructional methods. I incessantly preach, "If you have to memorize something, then you do not understand it."

 

I invest a large amount of my own (unpaid) time to ensure that my students succeed, and, in return, I expect an honest effort from said students.

 

I have spent most of the past eight years as an editorial sport and politics writer, relatively new to physics education. Nevertheless, my compositions are prominently featured on a litany of high-traffic sites, such as FoxSports.com, among others. Furthermore, I have appeared as a featured guest on multiple New York talk radio programs, providing sabermetric analysis regarding Major League Baseball. 

 
 
 
 
The Transition From the pen to the Non-Permanent Marker:
 
 

Regrettably, our current educational structure is becoming increasingly aristocratic. One’s socio-economic status largely determines the quality of education that one acquires. Students that reside in urban, low socio-economic regions face an exponentially more daunting route to academic success than their wealthier counterparts face. The more affluent schools receive the most extensive funding, possess the most experienced instructors, and access to the most resources. Of most significant concern is that this inequity is rapidly increasing with time. Education is the primary conduit to the betterment of one’s station in life. As accessibility to quality education becomes more limited, so, too, does the likelihood of upward mobility of our society’s most impoverished individuals, an idea that flies directly in opposition to the democratic principles upon which this country was founded.

 

I welcome the opportunity to level the proverbial playing field. Poverty and low academic achievement are only as concomitant as the instructor permits. The most essential ingredient in the recipe for a successful education is not money, technology, or resources; it is the instructor leading the class. While acknowledging that poverty and low-socioeconomic status are formidable hindrances to academic achievement, I am of the extraordinarily strong opinion that one can neutralize their deleterious effects. Teachers who cultivate strong relationships with their students, encourage them to develop caring relationships with their peers, make parental involvement a priority, set and communicate ambitious standards for all their students, and do whatever it takes for their students to succeed are highly likely to emerge triumphant over poverty. Children are our most incredible resource, yet many have their fate sealed before even stepping foot in a classroom. This tragedy is, arguably, society’s most deleterious problem whose perpetuation must be arrested. An unwavering yearning to affect positive social transformation is the reason, in words forever immortalized by Lebron James, that I have chosen to take my talents to UACHS!