The end of the school year and sappy movies

So, this is the last week that I get to teach my seniors.  They have been taking final exams and are on their way out into the world.  Many of them have stopped by and said their goodbyes and thank you’s.  Some have come for some last minute advice.  Word is spreading that I’m not coming back next year, so I am getting a lot of underclassmen stopping by as well. 

The end of the school year has always been a sad event to me.  It’s the closing of a chapter.  You HAVE to say goodbye.  You have to acknowledge the close of a period of time.  You are face-to-face with the knowledge that  you can never have this time back.  It’s also a time of new beginnings and adventures.  It’s exciting.  And whenever some period of time closes and another adventure starts, I remind myself that new beginnings often feel like sad goodbyes.

In other news, on top of being extra emotional with goodbyes, thank you’s, and sage advice, I watched The Fault in Our Stars last night.  I read the book at the request of a student and subsequently bawled my eyes out.  An ugly, ugly cry.  I expected to cry a little less in the movie.  As it turns out, this is a unicorn of a movie.  One where the movie holds up the integrity of the book.  So now, I am holding back tears all day and looking at sad quotes and movies. 

Note to self, when I’m already emotional, don’t add gasoline to the fire.

 

-Jen

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I’m back

So, after an incredible summer in 2013, followed by an extremely busy fall semester student teaching, and a stint as a long term substitute for two different classes, I finally have some thoughts and the time to put them down. I am currently applying for a full time job in my career field, either as a chemist or as a teacher.

-Jen

Great ideas and passion

So, as a senior in college, I’m often told to do what I love. Follow my passion. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to have started college once and had a “real” job/career and experience before my second shot at college. And I realized several times over that passion isn’t everything. At some point natural ability has to take over. I am passionate about Latin dances (bachata and salsa), but I do not have the natural ability. I can get good with practice, I can get really good. But I’ll never get great. This is the same issue I have with swimming, theatre, running, and several other endeavors that I love and am passionate about. I also understand that money isn’t everything. This why I got out of being in the Navy with an incredible sign-on bonus and guaranteed job. But I think there’s a balance. And honestly, I completely agree with Mike Rowe’s TED talk about a war on work. I urge everyone to watch it. If you don’t have time, just go to halfway through and watch to the end. I hope you enjoy and leave comments.

-Jen

Teaching Fractions

So, I’m sure that most people in the world hate fractions. Fractions are truly the make or break subject to decide whether you love or loathe math. I love math. I love fractions. But I’ve been convinced for years now that fractions are taught terribly by people who don’t understand them. I’m getting on my soap box. Third grade teachers barely have any higher level (algebra, calculus, trig., etc.) math training before we unleash them on unsuspecting children. These same teachers, more than likely also hate math, especially fractions. So they don’t teach them in fun and exciting ways. This creates an entire class of unexcited students who don’t grasp fractions. And once fractions become a staple in math, kids hate them. So I was thrilled to read an article about how to properly teach students fractions. It’s super exciting and enlightening.

Please let me know what you think.

-Jen

Fractions

Finally, an assignment of my choosing. And I chose CHEMISTRY!!!

So, my professor finally asked us to do a post about something we like in our professional paths. I am a chemistry major with a minor in education. Which means, I love chemistry. I not only love it, I am slightly obsessed. So, I have spent nothing less than hours looking over cool chemistry things to post for everyone to read and be excited about. So, I am posting about how recently chemists have been able to photograph chemical bonds breaking and forming. This is nothing short of amazing and I’m sure it will completely change the face of chemistry, especially organic chemistry, in no time. And my second link is going to be about graphene. Which is the strongest material in the world. And here’s the coolest part of all: graphene is the material that chemists were able to photograph forming bonds!!! I know, it completely blows my mind as well.

Please, for the love of chemistry and science, feel free to post links or comments of your own exciting finds.

-Jen
Chemical Bonds

Graphene

24 Hour Media Fast……

This weekend I was asked as part of an assignment for my class to refrain from all media, technology, and information for 24 hours. I could pick when to start and some ground rules were established. We were not allowed to read books, watch tv, movies, talk on the phone, play on the phone, text, facebook, instagram, etc. I decided to start my fast on Saturday afternoon. I had finished making all of my plans for the next 24 hours, informed all people of my disappearance, and caught up on my homework. I was ready, although most of my friends were skeptical. Little did I know that time passes much more slowly and activities get to be much quicker when you don’t have outside influences to distract you. My roommate was out of town, so I cleaned the entire house top to bottom. I finally got around to setting my alarm clock (I had previously been using it as a decoration since getting a cell phone), cleaning out my makeup bag (YUCK!!), and doing some sewing. I went out dancing, but got there too early. I had forgotten what time it started. On Sunday I couldn’t seem to sleep in and the first thing I did was grab my cell phone to check out everything that was going on. Thankfully I was awake enough to realize what I was doing and put down my phone. Some of my friends thought I was ignoring them over the weekend. And I had a hard time not responding to people. Some things were hard to give up like texting and phone calls. But a lot of things got easier to give up over time like facebook. Overall I’m glad that I was able to participate in this challenge. It helped me realize how attached to my phone I really am. So now I’m trying to cut back and realign my priorities.

-Jen