BOULDER - Those who believe the old adage "Those who can't do - teach", have never met Bill Schmoker. The science teacher plans to travel to one of the most remote places on Earth -- for his students.
"It was one of the best phone calls I have gotten in a long time," Schmoker, earth sciences teacher at Centennial Middle School in Boulder, said. "National Geographic called up said, 'You want to go to Iceland and Greenland?' and my heart was in my throat."
Schmoker is one of 14 teachers nationwide awarded the National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship. National Geographic will send him and the other educators to the Arctic Ocean aboard its research ship Explorer.
"I am coming up with ideas for how I can integrate it into my lesson plans," said Schmoker. "The ship has a lot of data-gathering ability."
Schmoker says starting the Arctic Ocean will be a gift since he is teaching his students about the impact of possible climate change.
"Whether it's just a neat bird I've seen over the weekend or going somewhere exotic like the Arctic, it really gets the kids' interests," said Schmoker. "When I can show them my own pictures, my own movies, talk about my own experiences, I think it personalizes it for them."
He also says this opportunity also him to bust that old adage 'teachers who can't'.
"It makes us feel very proud and we're really glad that it's one of our teachers from Centennial," said Emma Chow, 8th grade student. "It shows how Centennial is really out there and also trying to do these different things."
Schmoker will leave this summer for Iceland, where he will begin his two-week journey on the Arctic Ocean by re-tracing the steps of Viking explorers from the 10th Century.
"I think it helps (students) see not just me, but all of their teachers as real people, not just the adult in the classroom. But, hey, you're out in the world doing things," said Schmoker.