Conversations about Chemical Education

This semester I get to work with one of my high school students as she investitgates what it takes to be a chemistry teacher.  She wrote the following blog post to describe her project...

My name is Abby. I am a junior at an independent private school called University High School of Indiana (UHS). My school has a population of less than 300 students. The school is very open and holds the students to a high standard in terms of work and performance. We have six core values the entire community tries to show each and every day. These values include; commitment to excellence, commitment to personal responsibility, creativity, diversity, stewardship, and mutual respect, support, and trust.

One of the opportunities presented to the upperclassmen is the chance to do an independent study. An independent study is a one-on-one class a student takes with one of the teachers at UHS. The purpose of an independent study is to help students see what it would be like to go into the field of study they want to pursue in college. I plan to go to college to be a teacher, possibly a chemistry teacher.

This semester I am doing an independent study with our chemistry teacher Erica Posthuma-Adams. I am working with her on chemistry education theory and pedagogy. Throughout this semester I hope to learn more about what it’s like to teach chemistry to high school students.

One of the projects I will complete for this class includes writing and developing a blog and commenting on different questions and topics about either chemistry education or education in general. I will also being using twitter, @AbbyINChemEd, to connect with other educators and engage in dialog about issues surrounding chemical education. Another project I will be working on is developing an elementary or middle school chemistry curriculum unit.

I have many hopes for this independent study. I’m hoping this will help me to decide if teaching high school is what I want to do. I’m also hoping to learn more about the planning involved in teaching. Working with students and teaching them is something I’ve wanted to do since I was little, and I believe this independent study will help me in my endeavors.

My blog has already begun, AbbyInChemEd. Please feel free to follow me on twitter and follow my blog. I have a few questions for you to answer in the comments:

What do you think enhances a student’s want to learn?

What are some qualities that you believe make a good teacher?