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Monthly Archives: August 2015


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I have a room!  

I also have a lab! 


I have two rooms of cleaning to do! Not the floors, but many cabinets and drawers are filled with books, guides, unopened/unused trial software, unfinished experiments(!), and general clutter. I’ve dumped given the non-chemistry-related stuff to other teachers, so thats out of the way. And then there’s the stockroom. That room needs work. 

AND, I’ve never had my own room before! There are so many things to think about! I have a lot of volcano-related posters, but I should probably branch out. So in with motivational slogans and good guidelines for thinking, and some cool pictures and… I don’t know what I’m doing! 

Introductions vs. Syllabus

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Now that I’ve got a chunk of my new SBG-based course under control (or, at least I think I do), today, I started to work on a sort of syllabus.

I have my old syllabi, and they’ve served me well. But now I’m going to a new school with high expectations, and my courses were previously taught by someone with a doctorate (which I do not have). I’m feeling some pressure (from myself) to get it right, even though I don’t exactly know my audience yet.

As I go through the sections of my old syllabus, I hack away now-useless things (like hall passes) and add new material (like how SBG will work in my classroom), and I wonder if I should add a bit about myself, or if that comes off as “please like me!”

And a lot of this is related to how I want students to see me. Safety (a large-ish section, along with a line for parent signature after the lab rules) is not flexible. Deadlines can be flexible for good reasons (does that make them un-deadlines?) A generous selection of helpful websites and resources. Approximate course schedule (so that I appear organized) and helpful hints (so that it’s clear I’m on their side).

And I don’t have my keys yet, but I’m not completely sure what I’d do once in my room. I do have staff email, but that’s kind of a glitch from long-term-subbing last year.

And I wonder how much pushback there will be. From what, I’m not sure. And I wonder how it will go, and what wrinkles I’ll run into.

The whatifs are invading, making me afraid of being exposed as something I’m not.

ChemEd Day 5

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Today was the last (half-) day of the conference.

This morning, I heard about games and goofiness in organic chem class. The closing ceremonies speaker was Dr. Donna Nelson, who, among other things, consulted for Breaking Bad. Her talk mostly centered on an interesting idea: being the change you want to see. That is, she consulted because she wanted to influence a television show to have an accurate representation of science and scientists.

And now I’m working on my head again. I have a lot to do and integrate into my curriculum. And only a few weeks to do it. Eeep.

ChemEd Day 4

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Holy cow…

Today brought a bunch of in-class apps, some science notebooking (more like actual note-taking rather than following formulaic sections), the So You Think You Can Demo competition, modeling and stoich, and a lecture on historical impacts of synthetic chemistry.

Mind completely blown by the today’s stoich presentation. First, the ICE-table-like layout makes so much sense!! Whoa. And second (and more importantly), Ellena Bethea. Three years ago, when I was having a really tough time at my old school, hers was one of the first chemistry blogs that I found. And she seemed so genuine and practical and…lovely. I love all of the math teachers in the MTBoS, but her blog, one of the only chemistry-related ones I could find, is what got me back into teaching when I was feeling ready to quit. Anyway, I briefly met her (and probably creeped her out a little with my verge-of-tears introduction). I’m just so grateful.

One more (half) day tomorrow…