5 Things I Want To Help My Readers With

It is my hope that with this blog and website I can create a place where chemistry teachers can become a part of a community! Many times teaching chemistry is an isolating endeavor, and we just need a place to be with people that speak our language, feel the same pains, and gain the peace of mind that comes with being understood.

I hope to include the many aspects of being a teacher in general, and a chemistry teacher specifically. Below are the five areas that have me thinking about the challenges of teaching chemistry, and how I will structure my blog.

5 Areas I Want to Include for Teachers

  • Community and Culture
  • Pedagogy – the art of teaching
  • The Chemistry Lab
  • Lesson Planning
  • Resources
  1. Community and Culture

Teacher community and culture are pretty much universal. If you meet another teacher anywhere in the world, you may look at each other with that knowing eye. You are very familiar with what their life is like. That teacher may be speak another language, or teach in another ethnic situation, or even in a different county, but you both share a similar community and culture.

Here, I want to explore areas that we all have in common. Our physical and mental health issues, and exploring how to incorporate the teaching life into family life, are things that I’ve been thinking about. During the early years of my teacher life, I was a single mom of four and a coach! Does this affect your teacher life? You bet! I’m not sure how I made it through those years, but it is a part of our teacher life that is indeed very important.

  1. Pedagogy- the art of teaching

What are the best practices for teaching in general, and for teaching chemistry specifically? When I first started teaching, I worried about what level is the best for high school students. Even if your content knowledge is very strong, imparting that knowledge to 15 to 18 year olds is a completely different thing. What prior knowledge to most high school chemistry students come into the course with? What misconceptions do they have? Did they have physical science prior to chemistry, or are they coming into chemistry without any exposure to chemistry since middle school? Hitting that sweet spot that resonates with your students, and all kinds of awesome learning and experience goes on – that’s the driving force to achieve!

  1. The Chemistry Lab

Science is hands-on – a verb! This means that along with teaching chemistry concepts, we have the added responsibility of providing safe and meaningful laboratory experiences for our students. It’s a challenge to provide labs that support the concepts of chemistry. Should they all be inquiry labs, should they lead students to become inept at scientific thinking, or should they all be recipe, follow the directions type of labs?

Besides providing the safe and meaningful labs, we must maintain the chemistry store room. Make sure lab equipment is safe and usable. And did I mention demonstrations?

  1. Lesson Planning

It is my desire that lesson planning should take up a minimum amount of your time. It’s so hard to hear people say things like – you don’t even work 40 hours a week! Or, you have off all summer plus all of the other many weeks off during the year! But, in reality, many teachers work 50-70 hours a week. Many teachers have professional development during the summer along with working on next year’s curriculum and planning. Have you ever had a break that you didn’t think that you needed to be busy with school work, or consider a break as “time to catch up”? Have you experienced the dreaded “What am I going to teach tomorrow”?

In this area, I want to address ways to make our teacher life easier. Lesson planning, curriculum mapping, unit planning, grading papers and lab books, and the one that’s on our minds – NGSS. How do we plan for the chemistry education of our students. What’s the end game? Are they going to college, just looking to graduate high school, or are they going to be science majors in college? How do we modify the curriculum to meat the needs of our particular students?

  1. Resources

I plan to develop a good, solid catalog of resources for the chemistry teacher. Besides offering my own resources for teachers, I will also be adding good places for teachers, and chemistry teachers in particular, to go for information, support, and resources. There are so many areas that we need support and development with – everything from supplies for the classroom and lab, best places to purchase chemicals, how to discard of old chemicals, lesson planning support, NGSS support, to technology resources and support. Wow! We teachers have to know a lot besides just our subject content!

Stay Plugged In

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What are your particular pains and struggles with teaching high school, or teaching high school chemistry in particular?

Until next time,