As a new teacher attending the Michigan Science Teacher Association annual state conference, I quickly learned who the best presenters of chemistry content were and from then on, I specifically searched for their names in the program so that I would not miss their talks. Quite often, there would be a session with a title that looked something like: “Ideas I Learned from ChemEd” or “What We Brought Home from BCCE”. I grew to understand that these presenters had more tools in their toolboxes because of the fact that they did not limit themselves to local and state (and provincial) professional development, opting to invest in national and international conferences as well.
I got my first chance to attend a BCCE in 2010. I travelled to Denton, Texas, as part of a cohort of Grand Valley State University’s Target Inquiry program. Erica Jacobsen and Laura Slocum, precollege associate editors of the Journal of Chemical Education, hosted the “Views from the Classrooms of Award Winning Chemistry Teachers” symposium for the first time that year. Laura explained the reason to me below.
"We did this to give the ACS Regional and Conant winners an opportunity to share their experience with winning their award and the impact of that experience on their careers with their colleagues. Prior to this, some of the regional winners never shared and the Conant winners only shared at a National Meeting, where very few chemistry teachers had a chance to really see them and interact with them. Erica and I wanted to give them and the awards more exposure."
More than 20 award-winning teachers have shared activities, discussed pedagogy and philosophies, and reflected on highlights from their careers. Terri Taylor, a representative from the ACS Education Division office, has shared specific information about how to nominate or apply for ACS awards at each symposium. In recognition of the growing number of international educators in attendance at BCCE, the boundary has been expanded to outside of the US. The 2015 winner of the Canadian Beaumier Award for High School/CEGEP Chemistry Teachers, Yvonne Clifford, presented in 2016.
Having taken over the reigns of hosting this important symposium, I am working with award winning chemistry teachers to pull together another meaningful symposium for BCCE 2018 to be held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. I encourage you to attend the conference and I hope you introduce yourself to me! One of my favorite parts of attending BCCE is making new chemistry teacher friends from around the world.
Early Bird registration ends June 1. You can find out more about attending and/or presenting by going to BCCE2018.org. Attendees and presenters alike are sure to learn something new and leave inspired.