Hey there! As this is my first ever blog, I’m quite excited that I’m going to be writing about one of my favourite things to do here at the aquarium: teaching! When I originally trained to be a teacher, I was working at various primary schools, where I acquired teaching skills which I have been able to put into practice here at the National Marine Aquarium. Science was always my favourite subject to teach, especially when it came to exploring classification, adaptations and habitats. So when I got a job here at the aquarium in September, I was so excited that I would be able to talk about these fascinating topics on a daily basis! Whilst taking school groups around the aquarium, it is brilliant being able to teach them about topics I have always felt strongly and passionate about, whilst being surrounded by such beautiful marine creatures. There are so many opportunities for fun and interactive teaching activities around the building, allowing children to learn about the marine environment in an engaging and memorable way.

But what do I enjoy most about teaching? Well, I love it when children come to the aquarium already knowing lots about a particular animal and are keen to share their knowledge with everyone. It’s really great seeing children ‘become’ the teacher! My favourite times during teaching tours are when children are free to look around the tanks and discuss what they can see, as this is a little more child-led and loads of thought provoking questions arise. It’s wonderful when children leave the building wanting to learn more too, as it shows they are becoming life long learners who enjoy discovering facts about the world outside of the classroom.

So what’s next? I’ve been watching other teachers here at the aquarium run workshops and perform shows for school children. This looks really fun and I’m super excited about getting involved with these! But the teaching here is not only good fun. It is highly rewarding too. Inspiring children to take an interest in the natural world around them is so important for the future of our oceans, as this wonder and curiosity is what will give young people the incentive to conserve and respect our planet throughout their lives.

Well I guess I’ll leave it there. Thanks for reading my blog and I’ll look forward to seeing you around the aquarium sometime soon!

Karen Willcocks

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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