What got you into teaching chemistry? What’s your story? Was there a moment when you "just knew” about getting into the field? What role did your teachers play in contributing to that moment? Were they aware at that time or later on that they had an impact on your decision?
The editorial Refuting Myths about Secondary Chemistry Teaching: Getting the Facts Out to Current and Future Educators (article freely available) in the July 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education describes a tool that can help educators be more deliberate about sharing an accurate picture of our profession with students.
For example, Chambers, et al. ask the reader to consider a series of questions, centering around how we might advise a student who is considering the same career path. Do we encourage or discourage? Do we focus on the opportunity to share a passion for science with students? Does it turn to a conversation about how teachers are underpaid, unhappy, and not respected by the public? Do we ourselves hold beliefs about the teaching profession that are actually myths and pass them along as fact to students?
The authors are working to address some of these myths through a national information campaign, using the website “Get the Facts Out.” The project brings together leaders from physics and mathematics, along with chemistry, for a broader STEM focus. The website offers “a toolkit of editable, research-based, and user-tested resources that investigate prevalent myths and provide accurate information about secondary STEM teaching via brochures, flyers, posters, validated assessments, student-facing presentations, and faculty-facing presentations.” They suggest a student career night as one location for sharing information and materials.
Will you be at the American Chemical Society’s fall 2019 meeting in San Diego? Become part of the conversation by attending a related symposium “Get the Facts Out: Faculty and Student Perceptions of K–12 Teaching Careers." It’s on the schedule toward the end of the conference, the morning of Thursday, August 29, in the Division of Chemical Education programming.
What’s your take on the perceptions around teaching science as a career? What have you experienced as a teacher? Share! Start by submitting a contribution form, explaining you’d like to contribute to the Especially JCE column. Then, put your thoughts together in a blog post. Questions? Contact us using the ChemEd X contact form.
More from the July 2019 Issue
ChemEd X contributor Tom Kuntzleman and two of his students give JCE a colorful cover this month, with images from their experiment Simple Glowmatography: Chromatographic Separation of Glow-Stick Dyes Using Chalk (available to JCE subscribers, or ACS or AACT members)*. They used regular chalk and sidewalk chalk as a stationary phase and 91% isopropyl alcohol or acetone as a mobile phase to separate the dyes from activated glow sticks. Read about this and other pieces of this month’s issue in Mary Saecker’s post JCE 96.07 July 2019 Issue Highlights.