Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

General Astronomy >> Outreach

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
saying no to outreach new
      #5596542 - 12/30/12 04:49 PM

One of the parents at my wife's elementary school asked me to do an outreach program. She is a music teacher and I help her film their winter concerts and spring plays.

This private school is only 50 kids k through 5 and a more pompously parented unruly spoiled rotten group of kids who can do no wrong I have never met. I have to guard my $600 photo tripod holding my wife's $400 camcorder so that disrespectful kids running around playing tag in their own school dont destroy our stuff while their parents just chat amongst themselves. (Mind you we are taping it for the school and kids' benefit, she spends hours turning the footage into a dvd for them)

The tripod and camcorder are a hundred times more easily replaced than my scopes. The tripod wont break but they could knock the camcorder over and that could break. So I had to say no. I feel bad but I don't trust these kids, or their parents to make sure the kids behave respectfully. What would you do? I directed the parent to three local clubs. Presumably they have more experience with outreach, more experience with kids, and equipment that isn't so precious.

Edited by gillmj24 (12/30/12 05:29 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5596553 - 12/30/12 04:54 PM

we all have the option of just saying no
50 kids need more than one scope/operator under the best of conditions
my opinion does not count, but your wife's does

edj


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Agatha
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5596571 - 12/30/12 05:03 PM

I do not think that you should feel guilty at all. It is not up to you to babysit the unruly and sometimes even destructive kids...especially when the parents are right there nearby. Outreach is one thing, very admirable. But, having to do the substitute parenting should not be part of it.

Best, Linda B.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Agatha]
      #5596609 - 12/30/12 05:32 PM

It wouldn't be all 50 kids most likely. But I would be more open to it if they were taught by parents or other teachers the slightest modicum of respect for others. He asked me to do something during the day also but a) it is in the opposite direction of my workplace and b) I think the kids parents would sue if their kid looked at the sun and hurt his eyes despite pleas to the contrary. So solar observing is out of the question (lunt solar scope notwithstanding)

Where I feel bad is the guy who asked, his daughter is not the misbehaving one.

Edited by gillmj24 (12/30/12 05:36 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
fuzzystuff4ever
member


Reged: 11/26/12

Loc: Micco, FL
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5596656 - 12/30/12 06:08 PM

You should not subject yourself or your equipment to this kind of abuse, and you should feel no guilt whatsoever. Ask these worthless so-called "parents" if it's OK for you to run around their houses smashing THEIR valuables.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mich_al
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/09

Loc: Rural central lower Michigan ...
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: fuzzystuff4ever]
      #5596683 - 12/30/12 06:26 PM

Quote:

Where I feel bad is the guy who asked, his daughter is not the misbehaving one.




How about offering a private session?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Doug Reilly
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/29/08

Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: mich_al]
      #5596806 - 12/30/12 07:33 PM

I think doing outreach with really expensive equiptment is a bad idea, at least, if some damage would bother you. I did a sidewalk program with my Vixen FL102s which is a dear scope, but I didn't worry too much about it. That's me. If I felt otherwise, I'd get a $150 used Orion XT-6.

I think you also have to judge how much of a(n unruly) kid person you are. You may not be, and that's fine.

As a lover of astronomy I want the right people doing outreach, and those are the ones that will really enjoy it. Life's too short for stress in the thing that is supposed to be your hobby, pasttime, passion even.

The bottom line is age old, know thyself, and be true to that knowledge. If you think you'd enjoy a smaller session with a few kids, then perhaps ask the father you know to gather a few others and do it outside the auspices of the school. Again, only if you think you would enjoy that.

otherwise, you would do well to hook them up with a local club, that probably has several die-hard outreach folks who would cherish the chance to expose their AP refractors to all 50 cherubs!

cheers
doug


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
fuzzystuff4ever
member


Reged: 11/26/12

Loc: Micco, FL
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5597496 - 12/31/12 08:03 AM

This situation sounds like it's way beyond the normal "kids running around 'cause their parents dragged them to an educational experience" routine. The described level of child malevolence combined with the enabling "parents" disregard of any semblance of responsibility precludes any possibility of a successful learning experience. Oh, and the videotaping of events should end as well; let them pay for a professional to do it and see what happens when they destroy THEIR equipment.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dpwoos
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/18/06

Loc: United States
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5597554 - 12/31/12 09:05 AM

What has worked for me is laying out clear ground rules at the start. Kids love to run around in the dark, and I have no problem with that. In fact, I wouldn't mind running around with them! However, I make it very, very clear that there can be no running around near the scope(s). I explain that bumping/moving the scopes is not okay, as hitting someone's eye when they are looking through the eyepiece is a bad thing. They get it.

There are folks in our club who seem to get agitated by kids doing what kids like to do, and really it is better that these folks simply don't do public stuff. I find that a small amount of reasonable instruction has always worked for me, but it is also true that I am fairly easy going about my stuff and am comfortable with putting it in harm's way for the greater good, and my good.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5597977 - 12/31/12 01:30 PM

I've noted over the years that teachers of the younger kids often like to give observing sessions a party atmosphere, providing hot chocolate, cookies, and other treats. We always start out with a safety and etiquette talk to set a proper tone, and I always extend the lens shade to minimize the risk of sticky fingers brushy against my scope's corrector.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tecmageModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/13/10

Loc: Glenview, IL
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5598081 - 12/31/12 02:28 PM

I've done a couple of science outreach events at my children's school. In both cases, we talked about safety and behavior before going out onto the field. In addition, the teachers were very good about helping out, because they like others coming in to help deepen the material they're teaching.

If you don't feel the teachers and parents aren't supportive, I'd pass on outreach as well.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: tecmage]
      #5598116 - 12/31/12 02:50 PM

I've already passed the buck to the local clubs. Thanks all for your insights.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5598205 - 12/31/12 03:35 PM

Good answer.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dpwoos
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/18/06

Loc: United States
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5598411 - 12/31/12 05:19 PM

Quote:

I've already passed the buck to the local clubs. Thanks all for your insights.




Maybe you can join in if/when the club organizes it. Working with kids (I also assist in a local school's math class) is the best thing that I do for myself, and I find it hard not to be an exuberant advocate for this kind of outreach.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5598624 - 12/31/12 07:34 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

Two of us teach three 90 minute sessions of introductory astronomy for senior citizens. Part of the overview is a look at how, over history, mankind seems to be called to look to the night sky, and what has been the result for many cultures. Since the next session is a lab (i.e. star party), at the end I have a slide that asks, "What will you find on your exploration?" One of the twenty seniors asked, "What do you find?" I said, "I've seen most of what I feel a need to see, but with new observers I see things again through new eyes." Not only is it enjoyable to open the viewers mind to what is there, it really is like seeing it new all over again. Saturn, M13, M57, Jupiter, Venus in a waxing or waning crescent, a supernova, Albireo or Mizar, or a comet all get such an elation from a first time observer that it really can be like seeing it again for the first time. But it truly takes an interest to do it, and it should not ever be some sort of "must do". Society needs poets and engineers, soldiers and teachers, doctors and philosophers. We all have our gifts. Mine is to leave the cattle prod at home for the unruly kids. Keeps me out of court.

Edited by Skylook123 (12/31/12 07:41 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
StarStuff1
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: Skylook123]
      #5602152 - 01/02/13 11:23 PM

Hmmm Thoughtful comments, indeed.

But I will still do outreach. Just too much fun.

Edited by StarStuff1 (01/02/13 11:26 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
JayinUT
I'm not Sleepy
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: Utah
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5602244 - 01/03/13 12:49 AM

I don't do a lot of outreach, except at the local library. I find I prefer a dark sky but will teach others at a dark site how to observe. Nevertheless, when I do outreach it is with my XT10 and not my premium scope.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: gillmj24]
      #5602372 - 01/03/13 05:10 AM

Quote:

I have to guard my $600 photo tripod holding my wife's $400 camcorder so that disrespectful kids running around playing tag in their own school dont destroy our stuff while their parents just chat amongst themselves.




Whenever I do outreach with one of my scopes, whether for a group of schoolkids, a group of adults, or a mixed group, I'm never more than immediate arm's reach from my scope and gear, and am always watchful like a hawk of who's around me and who might be approaching. My demeanor is welcomingly friendly, yet clearly, firmly in command of the immediate space around my scope and gear, such that kids realize not to approach close enough to touch anything without politely engaging me. If someone's kid was acting out of control worrisomely near my vicinity, I wouldn't hesitate to firmly address the kid directly that they can't (run, horseplay, whatever it is) anywhere near me or my equipment. So far, I've been fortunate not to run into any situation with kids that I couldn't immediately cut off at the pass before any sort of risky or unpleasant incident could develop.

THAT SAID, I'm not hereby second-guessing the OP's decision that the particular schoolgroup at hand simply had too many unruly, undisciplined kids to comfortably deal with; I'd back off myself from agreeing to any outreach situation where I wasn't confident I could stay comfortably on top of the group I was supposedly doing it for. In the OPs case, I agree it's wise to turn the gig down, regardless of whether any of the rest of us might judge the situation the same way for ourselves if we were there.

The story another poster told about an outreach event at a park where some kid picked up pebbles and threw them at a fellow club-member's scope is frankly a bit unnerving, because it shows that it's impossible to guard against all risk that a kid might do something impulsively destructive before you can stop them. The closest I came to a difficult situation with someone I couldn't confidently control wasn't a school outreach, but rather one night down at the beach when I'd taken my former XT8 scope out on one of the wooden boardwalks that ran from the street through a low maritime forest out to the dunes and beach strand. I was there for my own observing, but I was gladly sharing views with any interested passers-by. At the very end of the session as I was packing up my gear to take it back to the car, a large middle-aged gentleman came along who was staying in one of the nearby cottages, and who had clearly had too many pina coladas. He was a friendly drunk, and insisted on being helpful carrying my gear back to my car. I wasn't concerned he had any possible intent to make off with any of my gear, but I was concerned that his motor skills weren't exactly 100%. Despite his bona fide friendliness I could tell from his determination to be helpful that he had potential to become belligerent if he took my refusal of his help as an insult. And so, I reluctantly let him carry the base while I carried the OTA. He got about fifty feet with the base, lost his balance, and fell over with it into the soft sand beside the boardwalk. Fortunately, no real harm was done to the base except that I had to spend an hour the next morning cleaning all the sand out of it and the az bearings. Other than that night, I've never had any problems (so far) at any sort of formal or informal outreach situation, but you never know.

Edited by FirstSight (01/03/13 12:53 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jeff Porter
super member
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Utah
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: JayinUT]
      #5615086 - 01/10/13 09:05 AM

I enjoy the outreach aspect of observing, especially when it is near full moon and I am not headed out to a dark sky site.

Like most I have a number of scopes. If I am doing outreach at one of the National Parks or a star party that is likely to be more educational and discussion oriented, then I take my better equipment and eyepieces. If i know that there will be a lot of elementary age kids where education and discussion is minimal, I will take a XT6 and a 25mm plossl for the kids to use.

The height of the XT6 is just right for most and the size is very manageable. What I like to do is to give the kids an easy target like the moon or a planet, and then challenge them to find the target in the eyepiece. They love this. The satisfaction of finding an object on their own is often greater than just looking at it through the scope. I do let the kids and parents know that if they want to explore and touch a telescope, that mine is the one that they need to come back to, and that they should not experiment with the other scopes on the field. I have always had a very positive response from the kids and their parents in this situation.

Jeff P


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mr. Bill
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: ColoHank]
      #5615302 - 01/10/13 11:23 AM

Quote:

I've noted over the years that teachers of the younger kids often like to give observing sessions a party atmosphere, providing hot chocolate, cookies, and other treats. We always start out with a safety and etiquette talk to set a proper tone, and I always extend the lens shade to minimize the risk of sticky fingers brushy against my scope's corrector.




Hummm....a bunch of kids jacked up on sugar. That might explain unruley behavior.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
1 registered and 2 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  nitegeezer, tecmage 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 6820

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics