Hey there, chemistry teacher! Welcome to my corner of the world – Chemistry Corner – where you’ll find all things teaching high school chemistry!
I have a question.
Are you here to find support? Are you stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling like you just can’t go on, much less find any time for you and your family? Well, you’re in the right place – I know your pain!
I started my life after college as an environmental chemist. Side note: I specialized in industrial waste water, and running the wet lab. We were growing our family, and all was well – well, not really.
Then, Everything Changed!
It seems like everything changed so suddenly, but I found myself a single mother of three. My work hours didn’t coincide with my young children’s school hours, and I wanted to be home when they were home.
Fortunately, while in college, I got a minor in secondary education, and became certified to teach chemistry. You know, the back-up plan.
Little Did I Know!
I got a teaching job, and all should have been well again, right? I mean, home in the afternoons, holidays off, snow days off, SUMMERS off – all the same schedule as my children. Boy, little did I know!!! And, I know you know where this is heading!
I walked into my empty classroom for the first time, and was faced with reality. There was nothing in the room except for 175 old chemistry textbooks. No files, nothing on the walls, not even a teacher edition! This was a very large high school – 2000+ students, but within the science department there was no support, caring or sharing! I was on my own! That’s when the 60-80 hours per week job started, and I had taken a cut in pay!
Sixty to eighty hours a week, I worked on planning and grading – barely staying ahead of my students. I still feel so bad for those first chemistry students, and my own children, and the sacrifices that they made.
I Loved Teaching Chemistry!
But, here’s the conundrum. I LOVED TEACHING CHEMISTRY! I had found my home with my students and the subject that I’m passionate about! Chemistry! It is exhilarating to inspire students to become curious about, just be awe-struck by, and possibly love themselves- chemistry! And, 23 years later, I still love it!
I became fascinated by the art of teaching – the pedagogy. I was always striving, searching, experimenting to find better ways and best practices to educate students. What little tweak or modification will make the difference? How can I constantly keep in mind the needs and challenges of my top students, while engaging my lower level students.
When my children were older, I went back to school and got my masters in Curriculum and Instruction. Soon, I began getting student teachers, which brought into the mix the challenges of teaching new teachers.
Mentoring New Chemistry Teachers!
I had discovered my second passion – preparing new chemistry teachers for their first year of teaching. And, since the number of college graduates choosing to teach secondary science, chemistry and physics in particular, is dwindling by the year, I take this as a very important effort for all of us involved in science education.
Later, I began mentoring new chemistry teachers and science teachers with experience, but teaching chemistry for the first time. Many of the teachers that I mentored over the years were teaching out of their field. Biology teachers, for example, who hadn’t been in a chemistry class since college many years ago.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel!
What I have discovered is that we are losing many good chemistry teachers because those first few years are just so demanding! Overwork, Overwhelm, No personal time left over for self and family! Why have them reinvent the wheel? If I were a principal, I would give my first year teachers a complete curriculum – here’s what to do, here’s a list of everything you need to do for the entire year! Relax, get to know your way around for a few years.
Why watch our teachers suffer, and watch them leave the profession? I know some of you are thinking, but, I want to be my own teacher, I don’t want to have to follow a script everyday – just a robot delivering information.
I agree! However, for those first few years, it will be much more supportive to our new teachers to give them what they need! Then after a few years, they will begin to be comfortable with what they are doing. They will be able to modify, change things around, make it their own – but on their own time! No 60 – 80 hours of work!
Pay It Forward!
I’m here with you! My mission is to provide chemistry teachers with the support and materials that they need – pay it forward! I have tried to keep the costs down, and the quality high, along with supplying a whole lot of support. Classroom tested and student approved!
Join the community. Sometimes, being a chemistry teacher is a lonely prospect, There aren’t many of us, and we all need collaboration time with “our people”!
See my post on Collaboration for Chemistry Teachers.
Thanks for being here!
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I'm editing this to add - you are amazing! We are two months into this and I continue to be so amazed by how in depth, yet easy to understand, this is. Extremely excellent.