Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Sun, Fun and Photons?

Just like you, teachers look forward to the long, summer vacation. Like you, many of us escape to beaches, travel to new (or old) places, relax with friends or settle down with a good book. Sometimes, however, we return to the classroom (or lab) to renew, reinvgorate and explore. Unlike you, we do not have to attend, but elect to do this. I know, it sounds crazy and there are moments when I would tend to agree. Yet this summer when I was chosen, along with seven other teachers from throughout the state, to participate in a six week long research experience at Boston University, I was thrilled.
The name of the program that I am participating in is called "Research Experiences for Teachers" (or RET for short). The idea behind this nation-wide effort is that science teaching is enhanced when the teachers themselves have the opportunity to engage in actual research. I know that all of my students are thrilled when we leave our classroom behind and go to the lab to work and explore together. Although we may be a bit (or in my case, a lot) older than you, we still have that same feeling of excitement and anticipation as we set our textbooks aside and spark up the bunsen burner.
All of you are well acquainted with that first week of school feeling: what teachers will I have and are they easy or hard, where's the cafeteria, the restrooms, will it be fun, will I make friends? Well, despite my years teaching, as well as working in labs, I shared many of these same feelings. Although many years ago, I spent a semester at BU as an undergraduate, it is like a whole new school. The .....

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