Lamentations of a Would-Be Astronomy Teacher


The clouds above the city

Where almost everybody lives

Reflect all the wasted light down

Upon physicists and others

Who care nothing for astronomy's roots.


Go to the mountaintop,

Or a desert, or out in space,

Or the far side of the Moon.

How 'bout those CCDs?

Pulling in spiral arms and H II regions

Out of the senseless murk.


I want to teach astronomy.

Gotta have a physics degree nowadays,

Gotta be a research scientist,

Gotta have a Ph.D.,

Gotta be a specialist.


I want to teach astronomy!

Astronomy is so much more than physics...

I want to help my students do research, not vice-versa.

What's wrong with a Master's degree?

I want to be a generalist,

Training the next generation of amateur astronomers.


Please don't get me wrong,

I like physics.

I just don't want to be a physicist.

I want to be an astronomer.

Astronomy is my life.


David Oesper