One of my successes this year has been sharing my passion with science with my students. Middle school can be a critical time for many students to find their interests and moving into Physical Science can be a hard shift from the softer Life Science class they have the year before. Conveying the love I have for science and inquiry is something I see as critical to the overall success of my class. But, before I go into detail about my year, I want to talk about my Bio and AP Bio teacher from high school, Mr. C.
Mr. C. was an exuberant teacher and a bit kooky at times. He is the first teacher to introduce me to 3D printing back in 2002 when he went to a conference and brought back a 3D printed molecule. I didn’t even completely get what it was at the time. He had a song , “H2O. Water, water, water. You take one oxygen, doodly, doodly, do. You take two hydrogen, doodly, doodly do” that he would sing when we talked about photosynthesis or anything to do with water. And we specifically requested a performance of it when we had him again in AP Bio. He also had a fake plant named Ethel that was beautifully adorned with tinsel all days of the year.
But more than those silly things he loved biology. Every lesson, demo, and lab were full of details and facts and stories he would pass on to all of us. Details that would spark interest, explain concepts, and stuck with me to this day. I has always more of a Physics person, but he made me love Biology as well.
Later on when I went back to teach in the district I attended as a student, he had retired a couple years before. And in one of my assignments I was at a school with three teachers who had him as a master teacher in their student teaching and they would tall talk about how terrible of a teacher he was.
He did fill-in-notes days we were not doing labs and the students were expected to volunteer the answers to while he went over them. These were old sheets copied time and time again because the files were lost in a computer upgrade. Yes, he was a very traditional teacher. He didn’t adopt a whole lot of new teaching methods. And honestly, he probably wasn’t the best master teacher.
But, is my life worse for having few inquiry labs in that class? Probably not. Is my life better because of the passion for science he helped instill in me? I would say yes. That doesn’t mean I base my teaching off of what he did alone. I don’t do fill-in-notes or have lecture heavy classes. But I do try to share my passion with science in general to me students.
In my student reviews the consistent comment I’ve gotten in every review this year is that they love how much I love science. No, this is not the only thing I think a science teacher should do, but it is important to pass along the idea that you can be passionate about these subjects. So, Mr. C. thank you for helping me pass that on.
Now I just have to figure out where to share my love of, though with lack of proper equipment to do so, for taking microscopic pictures of plants and pollen.