To get the title, you need to pronounce “fungi” as “fun guy.” I am a teacher and a fun-guy…get it? Okay, I know it is a little cheesy, but I have your attention now. That was the point. 🙂
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am a middle school science teacher. I know, doubly crazy. You have to be a little crazy to teach science, and you have to be a lot of crazy to teach middle school! I do love it, though. I love teaching middle school students, and I LOVE teaching science. One of the cool things about being a science teacher is that we get to do a lot of fun and interesting professional development! I am on my last day of an in-district science workshop, and it has been a blast!
I bring this up because yesterday we learned about fungi. We learned more about this organism kingdom and new and fun ways to teach about them and tie them into other parts of our curriculum. I found out so many things I did not know before. I did not realize how fungus connects to so many parts of our lives! (Side note: I also learned about zombie ant symbiosis…very cool and creepy!)
I am going to talk a little “science,” but please keep reading…there is a point with some hope and encouragement in the end!
Fungi are a vital part of life. Really. Without fungus, life on planet Earth would probably not be here. They play a vital role in the ecosystem and environment. Decomposition is key to breaking down the “dead stuff” and bringing out the nutrients and minerals that allow “live stuff” to be alive. Things die, decompose, and new things are born, grow, develop, then die…repetition is necessary…the circle of life!
Fungi are a major part of that circle (I wonder if they were upset that their part was cut from the Lion King movie). They are one of the most important decomposers, right up there with bacteria. They break down dead things. That is what they do. That is what they literally live for…they live for the dead stuff. This is their job, and they do it well! Take a short walk through the woods, which we did yesterday, and look closely, and you will find that you are surrounded by fungi. It is everywhere. It needs to be. Imagine if they were not doing this…dead stuff everywhere…wait, let’s stop thinking about it!
Okay, think I have bored you with fungi enough. Why did I talk about them so much? Because sometimes we, teachers, are fungi, or at least we feel that way. Most people do not get all that excited about fungi (except science teachers). Actually, most people are the opposite of excited about fungi, unless they ordered it on their pizza. Dislike of fungi is understood and valid, though, being that many mushrooms and molds are nuisance and a health hazard. However, this does not change how vital they are and the need for them to sustain and continue the circle of life. Teachers are the same way.
Last month, I wrote about red pandas. Red pandas are a misunderstood animal, fungi are a misunderstood organism, and your have a misunderstood career. People, even in the education “business,” do not usually know all that we do or get why decisions that we make daily are so important. Like fungi, we are known about with out truly being understood. We usually take this in stride, hold our heads up, and stand tall. Other times it gets to us, especially in those times that we are overwhelmed with all that we need to do.
We need to remind ourselves of our importance. We need to remember that everything we do makes a difference. We need to know beyond a doubt that we are vital to the future…just like fungus.
We are the fungi that take what is good from generations current and past and pass them on to the future. We are the key to the circle of societal life. We are what drive the future. We do not make the future, but we pass the energy on from one generation to the next. Be proud of this. Be proud to be a fungus!
You are awesome! Hopefully this made sense and you get what I am saying! It has been a long week, and my brain is a bit tired. I hope this came across the way that I intended and encouraged you. You are amazing! You are important. You are needed. You are making a difference! Keep on passing on the good to the next generation and keep teaching, Teacher!
PS…Check out yesterdays post to learn more about a Teacher Rockstar who took his role as fungi seriously!