In the last few years, I have been travelling from city to city, from province to province, from school to school. (following my husband's job, taking time off for kids, etc.). So anytime I get a job at a school, I only get the remains, the things "they" couldn't find anybody else to teach. Thankfully, math and science teachers are in great demand, and I never had a hard time finding a job. But the problem remained that I was not teaching my favorite subjects. Finally however, by a stroke of luck, I am now officially teaching physics.
Today, I'm proud to be a science teacher in Canada. Our students ranked thrid in the world for 15 year olds (the exact age group I teach) in Science on an international survey (57 countries and 400 000 students surveyed). That's pretty impressive. Check out the in depth results here.
For about a year now, I've been reading an awesome blog called Passion for Puzzles. Everyday there is short new entry with news on something "puzzle related" along with a picture. Whether it's a flash puzzle, a new word or math puzzle, an "Escape the Room" puzzle, a new jigsaw puzzle or even puzzle furniture, the author is there to report it in a short concise manner, with an appropriate link.
With the internet being so big, I find it hard to find new interesting puzzles. Therefore, for puzzles, Passion for Puzzles is the place for me!
For the non scientists out there, the alkali metals (the first group of the periodic table) are very very reactive. They don't occur in their elemental form in nature, because they react so rapidly with water or even air (oxygen). But, because I am teaching chemistry, the periodic nature of reactivity, and similar chemical properties of families, we (along with another crazy teacher in my science department) have decided to order lithium, sodium, and potassium for a demonstration of the high reactivity of alkali metals.
When I tutor students, I get to know them quite a bit better than the ones I teach as part of a class. They open up to me about anything and everything, and sometimes this lets me understand them better. I learn from them, just by listening. A thing that came up during one of my tutoring sessions (with a girl named Erin) was the use of names. She was complaining that one of her teachers only used terms of endearment to her students, instead of their proper names. So instead of calling Erin: Erin, she would say: "Sweetheart", or "Dear".
[img_assist|nid=717|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=202|height=262] [img_assist|nid=718|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=202|height=262] My young kid, 3 years old, loves to play on the computer. He likes to type, draw, color, whatever. The Internet is pretty sparse for good children's games, but I came across a site that seems have a lot of high quality activities. The website is in Polish, but the games are obvious.
When doing labs in the classroom, I need to be prepared to the nth degree. With the limited amount of time during a class (for setup, experiment, clean-up), for a smooth lab I need to be very organized. In fact, I do the lab myself ahead of time; I figure out what can go wrong, and then fix it before it gets to the kids. Actually, most of the time, I can't even predict what will go wrong when the students start playing around with the equipment, so I have to be flexible, very decisive when the time comes for the unfortunate event of a problem. In fact, things going wrong is a good thing.
There once was a fantastic television show called MacGuyver, which followed the adventures of the most exceptional problem solver you can think of. The show was not about characters or drama or action, although each episode had little bits of each. The show was about heaving MacGuyver ever-more-difficult problems to solve with ever-fewer resources.