Friday, May 11, 2012


I am not really a scientist. Just a nerdy teacher disguised as one. In my trusty lab coat and goggles, which at times feel more like props than safety equipment.

Is this somehow a detriment to me as a science educator?

In the core of my teacher-heart I am in love with pencils and paper and staples and folders. Flash cards and highlighters and black and white marble composition books. Multiple choice questions and white board markers and three-ring binders. Gold star stickers and "Way to Go" stamps and red felt tip pens. Cooperative learning and glue sticks and graphic organizers.

Am I more in love with "doing school" than "teaching science?"
(I worry this affects my ability to actually help students integrate new science information. Especially those students who aren't as naturally gifted at "doing school." *Swallowing hard...*)

Or perhaps have I just been teaching middle school too long?


  1. While the thrill of discovery is the greatest part of science, the hard part, the important part, the "doing school" part, is teaching them how to organize and record information. How many experiments have been invalidated by shoddy documentation? How many theories tainted by assumptions based on inaccuracies? The challenge is in finding the balance between "Gee whiz!" and "What does this mean?" A foundation is just as important as the fun.

  2. So true, Nancy. Thanks for the insight. I guess one of the challenges I find myself facing these days is "How do I help the students who aren't so natural at playing the game of school?" Because I wasn't that kind of student myself, I think I'm more reluctant to truly reach for new and different ways of "playing the game of school." Instead I metaphorically stomp my foot every time one of them won't follow the same well-trodden path of "schola-philes" (yes, I just made that one up.. Haha!) like me. This must change. Foot-stomping does nothing but exasperate both me and the student anyway. We all say that we would never have been that teacher who told Einstein he'd never amount to anything, but I know for a fact that I've (regrettably) washed my hands of more than one student before who didn't play the game well enough.