I did not grow up a Maker. At least, I didn't make as much as I wished I could. I discovered my passion for science early on in my life, and though I had an early interest in drawing, painting, music, and sculpting, I didn't see any way to implement my creative efforts as I pursued my career interests. It always seemed like I was required to choose between taking an art class or taking another science class, and because I was always more or less conditioned into thinking my only chances for success were to study hard in the traditional way, I chose more STEM classes. How would I get into college if I didn't pack my coursework with only core subjects? How would I succeed if I didn't study and prepare for the traditional education system? Though I obviously didn't ask myself these questions specifically, my experience in high school led me to ignore my creative endeavors in favor of preparing for college and the "real world."
Of course, we know a college education is important. I hope that my future students will be able to see that. However, I think that shirking students' interests in favor of priming them for college isn't the way to get everyone interested in science, or STEM in general. What I didn't learn in high school is that science requires a lot of creativity. Science isn't only concerned with solving problems, it's also important as scientists to find problems. Coming up with problems and their solutions needs an open mind to create ideas and formulate experiments. This is why my Maker philosophy centers on joining the creativity associated with less scientific subjects with the rigid logic we see in STEM. I don't think it's fair that students like me, with interests in both art and science, have to choose one or the other. I hope that as a science teacher I can incorporate lessons that create an environment where students don't have to make a choice. Making to me means being able to bridge the gap in learning styles and allowing all students a way to access the content, whether they prefer rote memorization or freedom of expression.
My Maker philosophy doesn't only revolve around the idea of choice in education, but also the idea of accessibility and agency. A lot of making is extremely inaccessible to low income communities, but I hope that some aspects of making, such as programming and "upcycling," can make their way into my classroom and many classrooms in America. These parts of making allow students to express creativity and scientific endeavors without having access to a full Makerspace or many of the expensive tools that well-off communities may have access to. I also place a lot of emphasis on the problem solving aspect of making. In addition to being creative and learning more by doing, I hope that people can see making as a utility. Finding problems in the community and working together as future scientists and engineers allows students to work to make their world a better place through innovation and creation.
My experience with making is still limited. I've only recently learned to explore science through an artistic lens, and that can be seen through my projects. Many of them are still grounded in the more scientific side of making, but I hope to grow more as I become more comfortable as a Maker. One of my favorite things about making is that it allows learning to be a constant process, and the community formed around making allows anyone to pick up any skill with a great support system. I hope I can keep this philosophy as I go into my teaching career so my students aren't afraid to learn something new, and can even be eager to show me a new skill while they're at it. I hope that as I move into my teaching career, my attitudes and philosophies about making will continue to grow in a way that allows me to show my students the utility of being able to think in a different was and see a logical problem from a creative outlook, just as I've learned to do the same.