Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You're stuck in here with me


As a quick reminder-Mother’s day is coming up on Sunday (May 12th). Share the love with the woman who raised you or who is raising your kids. You would not be where you are today without her. I love you, Mom.


My parents played a huge role in making me who I am today. 

This was written before I realized that today is teacher appreciation day.

One of the best things about teaching and coaching is the fact that I get to share what I love (the sciences and water sports) with unsuspecting high school students. At times, teaching is sometimes portrayed as a teacher stuck in a room full of rowdy teenagers who can make your life difficult. 
Look how unhappy this poor teacher is and how happy the students are. 

I tend to view it as the other way around. I have a room full of students who are now stuck with me for 90 minutes every other day for a school year. Now I have them and I can show them how cool chemistry and biology are. 


Hahahaha. From a good movie, but better graphic novel.

With the kids in my classroom, I get to show them how catalysts work, in ways like this: 


video



Or getting to share information about phytoestrogens. 
You mean I have to look up what that means?

Students have a tendency to think about plants being boring and static, and all they do is photosynthesize (whatever that means). But then you can get into secondary compounds, which are metabolites produced by a plant as a byproduct of photosynthesis or other cellular processes.

So what are phytoestrogens you ask? Let's figure it out. The prefix phyto means plant. Estrogen: A female hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle (and does a bunch of other things). So plants go through menstrual cycles? 

No. But what about female contraceptives? Most oral contraceptives contain a form of estrogen (usually paired with progestin). So why are plants producing contraceptives? If a sheep (or grazer) eats the plant, then they are effectively (and unknowingly) taking a contraceptive, which means the sheep won't reproduce, which means that there will be fewer sheep to eat the plants... BOOM plants are interesting again.
SAY WHAT! Plants make contraceptives?

As a coach, it is slightly more difficult to get them to appreciate the work that I am having them do. There are not many shortcuts you can take to becoming a better athlete. While some students may "get" a subject or some new concept, you don't become a good athlete without hard work. I get to push my athletes to better themselves. And every now and then, I get to share moments like this with them:

I convinced a couple of my swimmers and students to do a local sprint triathlon. Here we are looking like idiots. And having fun doing it.

And this: 
Watching the Jamestown High School Varsity Girls team beat their rival at district championships. 

And this:
Coming back in the final two minutes to overcome a 5 goal deficit to win JV league championships in overtime. I'm floating in the back.

So who really benefits from the students/athletes being stuck with me? Don't know, but I am having a blast doing it.

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