Science, Coffee, and Chocolate

Science, Coffee, and Chocolate

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You're Out of Your Element

I moved to Arizona a year ago ready for a new teaching adventure. I had a dream job in a private school in Pennsylvania teaching 40 kids a day, taking them on field trips every month, and no need for all the crazy organizational skills of most middle school teachers. (I mean it was only 40 kids).

I arrive in Arizona, start my new job, and the picture above sums up completely how I felt. Besides the obvious of posting John Goodman in one of his funniest and most iconic roles, the statement is how I felt...out of my element. I reflect back on the hardest year of teaching I've ever had and see the mistakes I made. Working in an inner city Phoenix Title 1 school was hard...really hard, but not hard in the way you would think.

The students were great. Sure there were behavior problems, and the "I'm a tough guy" attitude while trying to intimidate his 5'3'' blonde teacher, but I loved the kids. They were funny, and interesting, and different from me in every way possible. Race, demographics, socioeconomic status, and culture. I loved learning from them. The problem wasn't them...

The problem was me trying to figure out how to teach them with the little resources I had. With no science lab, an almost non-existent budget, and no technology resources I was stumped. The other factor was this was a HUGE ESL population. They were almost all second language learners. They learn differently. I quickly figured that out, while I slowly adapted to it.

So...this school year I am in a new school, fully junior high, with a science lab and a few more resources for science teachers. However, the school is still Title 1, I still have a huge ESL population and I'm starting all over again as a teacher for third time.

In this blog I hope to share with you what I learn, my experiences, and create a resource for science teachers. I will be implementing Interactive Science Notebooks (I used to use binders, never again. DO NOT USE BINDERS!!), new differentiated instruction strategies, and hands on learning strategies.

I'm In My Element is the name of my blog because I realized I was never out of my element. I just needed the information to create a new plan of attack. Now I need some coffee.