The good fight

I couldn’t care less what you think about politics. If you agree with my views — fine; if you don’t — fine. Conservatives (small or large “C”), Socialists, Liberals, Libertarians, Communists, Greens… whatever… I’m okay. Talk all you want. I’ll listen — or at least look like I am — and I’ll nod and maybe smile. I might even “agree” with your hare-brained notions. 

Same deal with religion — say what you like, I don’t mind.

My hot button is education. 

The odd time that I get invited to a party, when people discover I’m a teacher (a chemistry teacher! AHHH!!!), it’s pretty much game over. For a short while, I’ll listen… then I’ll pretend to listen. I’ll suppress my rage… I’ll think calm thoughts… I’ll count to the Avogadro constant.

Then it’s time to “get another drink”. I’ll grab my coat and my spouse’s coat (and my spouse) — and run.

I cannot take peoples’ illusion that chemistry is memorization. Or that school is about getting good marks — so a student can get accepted to some university (we all went to Queen’s!) in order to — you guessed it — get more good marks — so he can be a doctor (like his aunt in England).

I hate that parents have their kids take a summer course “to get it out of the way”. I hate that students and parents and (I am sorry to say) many teachers and some “experts” believe that computers are the Holy Grail in this business.

Let’s get real. School is — and always was and always will be — about learning. I don’t understand why this straight-forward message is so difficult. We need to promote learning, while de-emphasizing marks. This is a war. We need to fight — student by student, class by class, year over year, parent interview by parent interview. It won’t be easy; there will be casualties, like my sanity — or your sanity.

Let’s stand together and fight the good fight. For chemistry education. For chemistry learning.