I’ve been a chemistry teacher for twenty years—five years at my first school and fifteen years at Holland Hall. I started teaching AP Chemistry in 2008. It was very challenging at first with two sections of students. About five minutes before the students, I probably drove them too hard.
I remember a conversation with the head of my department one day that first year. He gave me the confidence and the grace to continue even when I was making mistakes in instruction.
You live and learn.
After the first year, the enrollment dropped to five students. Not great.
But gradually, over the years, as I became more confident as a teacher and with support from my colleagues, the enrollment began to grow again.
Over the years, the students have returned during the holiday breaks and have given us feedback that the course was beneficial and that their college chemistry classes were successful. In many cases, they explained the concepts to their friends.
Tomorrow, the exam is scheduled.
This could be the last year I teach Chemistry as I am hopefully moving into full-time technology classes to share my love of programming and creativity with future students.
I typically write my students a thank you note as part of closure at the end of the course.
They have worked hard and done everything that I have asked of them. A teacher could not ask for more.
This time around, the notes seem even more important.
We have been focused on maximizing scores on an AP exam. But to say that is the entire goal is not at all accurate.
The goal, which I tell them on the first day of the class, is that when they leave the classroom, they still love chemistry and are not burnt out on it.
Playing the long game is preferable to driving folks into the ground for the short-term payoff. It’s a value that drives strategy and tactics in my teaching and coaching.
Best of luck to all students on the AP Chemistry exam tomorrow!
#apchem #chemistry #coaching #rowing #education #educators #stem
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