Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How Far Does Your Impact Reach?

Yesterday, I celebrated Fifty-Three years on the earth. It doesn't seem as bad when you write it out in words rather than digits. As birthdays go I really don't worry about them anymore or think about celebrating them too much.  I'm feel a little to old for cake and ice cream and not quite old enough to celebrate how long I've survived. But, yesterday I was blown away. And reminded why I teach.

A former student who kicked and screamed and cried and pleaded and pouted her way through high school, asking the very questions we as educators dread, "When, am I going to use this in real life?", "Why do I have to take subjects I hate?", "Why is "SCIENCE" so hard?" I am sure you have heard them all as well.

She showed up with the most beautiful representation of appreciation I could have ever imagined.  A cake in my favorite candy bar flavor, "Milky Way, Simply Caramel".  Emblazoned with the Periodic Table I created for the Chemistry classes here at La Salle High School.

She explained that she had spent the weekend, testing and re-testing four different cakes until she got the flavor and consistency just right for the final product.  She had another student who I tutor sampling to make sure the cake was just right. This sounds like the "SCIENTIFIC METHOD" at work. So much for,"When I going to use this in real life?" I would say there might have been a little bit of CHEMISTRY involved as well.

She went on to explain how she went online to find a copy of the periodic table that I created for the chemistry class she took. She then used food coloring to mix and match while dyeing the fondant to match the colors from the periodic table. Seems like a little bit of "SCIENCE" in action there.  Maybe even a little bit of PHYSICS, where I taught her about additive and subtractive colors. 

Now this Nursing (SCIENCE) student in her sophomore year in college explained how she recreated each element square of the periodic table with Symbol and Atomic Number, Group, Family and Period and painstakingly lined them up to complete an almost perfect replica of the Periodic Table. 

It was so beautiful, I didn't want to cut it. But, she insisted I need to taste it because she had to make sure that the Simply Caramel flavor was correct. 

Upon sharing this experience with my department colleagues, the overwhelming reaction was, "What an impact I must have had on this individual."  I always knew that as much as she complained about her high school experience, she did appreciate the opportunities for education she experienced in my classroom. But this was way beyond what I could have ever expected. 

So, Why do I TEACH?  

Because, I never know how far the experiences of my classroom will reach.

Oh  and by the way.  I think she used a few of the 6 C's in the process as well, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Culture, Creativity, Connectivity

Yep!!! They were all in action.

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