About Me

I am a former chemistry teacher and current Academic Dean at Lakeside School in Seattle, WA.  I started this blog to chronicle my adventures on my sabbatical leave during the 2012-2013 academic year.  I spent that year traveling the United States and Canada pursuing my twin passions of watching birds and watching great teachers in action.

One goal was to see almost all of the regularly occurring birds in North America. This ambitious desire took me from Nome, Alaska to Key West, Florida and from the Salton Sea in southern California to the rocky coast of Maine.  I finished the year having seen 647 species, and more importantly having countless memorable experiences and meeting many new friends.  You can read about my birding adventures here: https://reallybigyear.wordpress.com/category/birding

Another goal for my year was to visit several dozen high schools (and also some middle schools, colleges, and universities) in search of great teachers practicing their craft.  I wanted to explore the question: “What is good teaching?”  I was overwhelmed by the passion, creativity, intellect, and thoughtfulness of my colleagues around the country, and really inspired to continue working on my own craft of teaching.  While I didn’t come up with a single answer to this question of what is good teaching, I certainly gained many new insights.  You can read about my experiences visiting schools and interviewing teachers here: https://reallybigyear.wordpress.com/category/teaching

After some consideration, I decided to continue to use this blog in 2014 and beyond to document my new periodic wanderings.  I published a series about my 2017 birding trip to South Africa with my friend, Neil, and I’m working on a new series about our 2019 trip to Australia.  I tweet occasionally @chiral_guy.  You can drop me an email at the address found here.  See you in the classroom or out in the field!

5 responses to “About Me

  1. matt huston

    Hi Hans. we found The Big Year here in Peru and watched it. all loved it. sam was so taken with it that he is now interested in birds. last month we went out and had a Big Day and managed to see 14 birds in the morning that we could identify, including a really rare hummer. we are keeping a list of peru birds and he has started his life list. all good. if only we had a great bird book. at least we have good binocs. anyway, thinking of you and hoping that your year is awesome. i love how you have started off right away. no messing around! good luck. matt

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog posts, and would like to “subscribe” to receive new posts in your quest to see 700 birds in N.A. this year. Good luck and good birding!


  3. Hans, what a project! And fun to read about. Let me know if your travels happen to take you through Chicago to see the rare Malörtese Falcon.

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