Real Student-Teacher Conversations
Sometimes I try to imagine my job, my profession, as a series of conversations. Of course, this is actually true in a literal sense, as my entire professional worth (most of it, anyway) is predicated on human interactions. Rather, I think about the real conversations that should occur, need to occur, and occasionally do occur.
- Quinton: AP Chemistry students, we will finish the semester with a unit covering gases and kinetic molecular theory. The main part of this will be encapsulated in a multi-day lab that you will design and then report. After that is complete, we will proceed to the final lab assessment and the final written exam.
- Student: Whoa – that seems like quite a bit to do in the final two weeks of the semester, especially since you are a crazed lunatic when it comes to labs and expecting me to think.
- Q: I believe in you! Besides, this is “AP Chemistry” and that gives me the right to pile on as much as I wish as long as I feel justified in my belief that you will learn.
- S: You know, for a guy who pretends to understand students and ACTUALLY HAS A DAUGHTER IN THIS CLASS this doesn’t show the kind of compassion that I believe is possible.
- Q: Compassion? Obviously this is a question of wise freedom and the choices you made to be in this course. It’s not my fault you are on a school sport and two club teams.
- S: No, no, no… what I intend to convey is that if your goal is learning about the subject this is the wrong way to go about it. We need time to digest material and truly connect and this creates a blizzard of excess. In an ideal world I support you.
- Q: Go on…
- S: Whether you like it or not and whether it is supposed to happen or not my other five classes are hitting me hard right now. I want to like this class, and I want to like you but adding to the “suck” in my life doesn’t accomplish any of this. Please grow a heart and help us out!
After this conversation in my head I came up with the following proposal for this week. Please read through the entire entry and them EMAIL ME that you understand.
- I will change the “Gas Laws Lab”report into the lab final grade.
- You will submit this report as a printed (paper report) to make it easier to includes graphs and such
- I will not collect lab notebooks for the gas laws lab – I trust you
- You may submit this report anytime before the end of the week on Friday
- We will still do the lab prescribed for this week but it will be divided among the five class groups.
- NOTE: I will explain how this will be divided on Tuesday – come to class prepared
- Together as a class you will come up with one answer for the unknown
- No lab report is required for this week’s lab – we will debrief after completion on Wednesday
- We will review for the final on Friday
I hope this makes sense… and if it doesn’t please let me know. I hate changing things at the last minute but I want to make the class work from all perspectives.