Current Science Classroom
This past spring, I wrote in this column about the challenges and obstacles of remotely teaching science to high school students. Like most of you, I thought that by summer, America would have navigated through the worst challenges of the pandemic. Maybe COVID-19 would still be in the news, most of us could return to our normal lives. As it turns out, I was wrong.
Instead, we will return to school either by resuming where left off in the spring with remote instruction, or under seemingly impossible conditions of wearing PPE while teaching and trying to keep students socially distanced. I wish I could give you all more advice or ways to be hopeful this year, but I don’t have that for you. We will be asked to do a hard job under seemingly impossible conditions. I won’t get into the contradictions of whatever policies your home state and district has or has not enacted; it’s just too infuriating. The reality is that this year, we are asking teachers to put their health on the line to educate students.
If you’re scared, that’s okay. I’m scared too.
So what can we do in the face of the worst pandemic in the last 100 years with little to no leadership? It can seem like an insurmountable problem, but there are things within your control that can have a positive impact on your school and community:
One of my favorite people to read about is Teddy Roosevelt, not just for his force of personality, but the things he stood for and how he changed his views over his lifetime. He was a man of his era a lot of ways, but he was also years ahead of his time. In thinking about all the uncertainty this school year will bring, I am reminded now of his simple, yet brilliant quotes: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It may not seem like much and it’s more than a little trite, but it’s so incredibly true for our moment. We’ve got rough waters ahead, no doubt, but small actions taken by everyone can have a monumental impact.
Chris Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org; @TheScienceJedi) is a science instructional coach for the Hamilton County ESC.