Teaching in and of itself can be a very isolating profession. Your adult interaction time may be as little as twenty minutes per day – maybe as much as 30 to 45 minutes per day. Any type of professional interaction must be either after school hours, when everyone is exhausted and ready to head home, or during special, usually very planned and organized, professional development meetings. So, I decided to develop a “space” for high school chemistry teachers to hang out. I know it can’t replace actual in person interaction, but sometimes virtual is all we can get. By developing a collaborative community for high school chemistry teachers, it is my hope that some will find a place for advice, support, and a lot of understanding!
Through the years, I have worked with many student teachers. I have mentored many teachers across my state that are new to teaching chemistry. Some of these teachers were first year teachers, and some were experienced teachers teaching chemistry for the first time. I’ve also worked with many experienced chemistry teachers. Based on what I have seen, and what I have personally experienced, I want to continue serving high school chemistry teachers in whatever way I can.
ChemistryCorner.com Was Specifically Designed for YOU (and here’s why)
If I were a principal with a new chemistry teacher, or a new teacher of any subject, I would give them the complete curriculum for the entire year. Step by step! Make sure that they had all of the supplies that they needed for the year. It is hard enough to find your way through the first year teaching without having to write daily lesson plans, homework, quizzes, study guides, tests. I know, we get a teacher’s edition of a textbook and all of the accompanying resources. But, it is often so much material to wade through. Where’s the daily lesson plans? Many of the resources are not conducive to classroom use – they are either too many pages to copy, and often must be edited to fit our lesson plans. Just tell me what to teach and when!
Then, new teachers need to learn how to scavenge to find the supplies that they need on a limited budget. Add to that figuring out how to come up with formative assessments that will give you data to turn in to your administrator. Oh yes, and since it’s your first year of teaching, you will need to go through an intensive evaluation process.
Since you are a new teacher, you must pay your dues by taking on a club, sports team, or sponsor some sort of extracurricular activity. Personally, I was a coach for my first fifteen years of teaching. And guess what, all of this has not even acknowledged the fact that you should be well adept at teaching 130-150 students per day. Oh, but wait, there is a wonderful part! How many teachers have you heard say, If all I had to do was teach, life would be great!
Roughly one-third of chemistry teachers have three or more preparations a day, including different levels of chemistry, other science courses, or courses outside science.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Now, it may sound like I’m doing a lot of complaining here. I’m not. What I’m acknowledging is that this is a tuff job, and doubly so for the first year or three. However, this can be the most rewarding job there is. And, I wouldn’t have traded my career for any other! I just love seeing students engaged in learning, opening their curiosity, inspiring a future scientist! The cards, letters, and emails that I get from past students are amazing! There are scientists, chemical engineers, nuclear chemists, forensic scientists, doctors, teachers, out there that I have taught, to just name a few! We are sending the next generation out into the world!
ChemistryCorner.com Was Designed for Chemistry Teachers!
While it may be inherently obvious who the intended audience is for this website, the reasons behind the development of the website may not be so obvious. I have met so many teachers that are just drowning in their first few years of teaching, and for those that are teaching chemistry as a first or second year teachers it just multiplies. And, we simply can’t continue to lose good teachers! How can we help with the demands of the job, and allow teachers to have a doable, healthy way of combining a teacher’s life with family life?
I have worked with new teachers, and I have worked with veteran teachers that are teaching chemistry for the first time from across the country and across the world. One of the first coronavirus “help me” emails I received was from a teacher in China. All of the schools had been shut down, and she was now finding herself trying to wade through the online teaching world.
The state legislator in my state decided to make chemistry or physics required for everyone in order to receive a high school diploma. If you had this choice as a high school student, which would you choose. Yes, most chose chemistry. One thing legislators forgot to look into before passing this bill was just how many certified chemistry teachers do we have in the state! Ooops! But, my state is not alone! It’s estimated that over 60% of high school chemistry teachers in the U.S. do not have a chemistry degree or are certified to teach chemistry.
Over 60% of high school chemistry teachers in the U.S. do not have a chemistry degree or are certified to teach chemistry.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
After 23 years of teaching at a large 2000+ student population high school, I’m ready to pay it forward.
So, I decided to build this website!
Teaching high school chemistry may be one of the most difficult high school teaching assignments, but it doesn’t have to be all consuming. Let’s support each other in our mission!
What are some of your pains and difficulties that you are experiencing? Let’s work them out!
Until next time,