Stippling and Dragon Fighting




Zoe Welsh is a Science Muse Contributor who teaches biology and is science department chair at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, N.C. 

When I was asked to contribute to this online community, I was flattered.  I love what I do and sharing that enthusiasm with others.  However, I’m not much of a writer and, frankly, I’m a little intimidated by the process.  Please forgive me in advance for the mistakes I am bound to make.

 After overcoming my grammar-phobia, I decided that this first article should pay tribute to the two men most influential in my teaching career.  I know that I would not be the teacher I am today if it weren’t for Roscoe “Frosty” Murdoch and John Burney.

My love for biology developed in an un-air conditioned, third floor science room.  I was Mr. Murdoch’s biology student sophomore year, spent junior year learning anatomy from him, and chose to be his student assistant senior year.  A lot of time has passed since those days, but I still remember how he treated his students—with respect and high expectations.  My classmates and I pushed ourselves to do the very best, because we knew that Mr. Murdoch believed in us.  I spent hours and hours stippling formal lab drawings, making sure I used enough contrast to exhibit the 3-D nature of the specimen.  No other teacher inspired me to test the limits of my capabilities.  I work every day to have a similar impact on my students.

The other man instrumental in making me the teacher I am today—Mr. John Burney (“Burney” to me).  I was fresh out of college and at my first school when I met him.  He was the school’s most-experienced biology teacher and a wonderful resource. I had a lot to learn.  In my naïveté, I believed that administrators would want to know about the system’s imperfections. Burney advised me that instead of worrying about administrative problems, I should focus on meeting student needs.  He said it wasn’t important to fight all the “dragons” out there—after all, administrations change.  The battles I should devote my energy to were in my classroom, overcoming obstacles to learning

So, here I am.  I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years and the importance of being student-focused still resonates with me.  Now, I’m not going to lie, I’ve gotten quite a few dragon burns along the way.  Regardless, I wouldn’t change a thing.

4 Responses to “Stippling and Dragon Fighting”

  1. Charles Veth says:

    Hi my loved one! I want to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all significant infos. I’d like to see extra posts like this.

  2. Darla Platko says:

    Hey, I liked the posts and outstanding theme you got here! I have your blog favorited to find out fresh stuff you post. I would like to say thanks for sharing your experience and the time into the stuff you post!! 2 Thumbs up!

  3. Laura Woods says:

    Hi Zoe –
    Frosty was my first department head at BHS and I went down memory lane reading your article. I still have my students stipple their diagrams and they complain bitterly. Yet – the process always produces higher quality diagrams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>