Dean Baird has been a teacher here for more than 20 years, but Rio students aren’t the only kids he teaches.
Baird has been writing lab manuals and taking photos for Paul G. Hewitt science textbooks since 2001.
The most recent publication is the 11th edition of “Conceptual Physical Science,” uses several of Baird’s photographs, including the cover image of …… And in appreciation of Baird’s contributions, the book is dedicated to him.
“I was surprised because he [Hewitt] had actually dedicated a version of a book that we used to use and he called me ‘protégé,’ this one lists me as an ‘inspirational teacher,’” Baird said. “’It’s a complete surprise. I didn’t expect that at all.”
The the 917-page book sells for $217 on Amazon. Earlier editions are widely used in college classrooms.
Baird enjoys working with Hewitt, a well-known textbook author.
“When I started teaching here, Hewitt was already a known commodity,” said Baird. “I’m just a 21 year old physics teacher at Rio Americano trying to make my way in the world. I liked what he did with his book versus what a lot of other people did with their books, but still I always wanted to write my own stuff because I always figured I could do better and I think that’s what he appreciated.”
Baird said that it was almost by chance that he got Hewitt’s attention as there were hundreds of other physics teachers that wanted to work with him as well.
“I never wanted to be a part of that crowd,” he said. “ But I saw him [at the Northern California Physics Teacher’s Association] and said ‘Hey Hewitt! We just bought your videos and I was watching what you did on the first day of school and I think I do a better job.’ The next day I showed off some of the handouts that I do in class and he immediately wanted to work with me.”
As a result of that meeting, Baird has written lab manuals that accompany Hewitt’s books.
The new edition of Conceptual Physical Science includes photos of Baird teaching as well as photos that Baird took.
Baird said that he would keep doing this for the Conceptual Physics textbooks and Hewitt until they stop publishing them.
“My egotistical joke I like to tell people is, some people say, ‘If you Google me, my picture shows up in the images,’ and I tell them, ‘If you Amazon me you can buy something that I wrote.’”