While I am somewhat famous (infamous) amongst my students for my Dr. Pepper consumption, I also have quite a taste for sweet tea. Like, real, Southern Sweet Tea- no lemon. The sweeter the better.
But for years, when I went to restaurants that only had tea with sugar in packets or sweeteners, I was constantly dissatisfied with my beverage. No matter how hard I stirred, the sugar just settled to the bottom. Sure, I could stir it up in a cloud and drink quickly, but then I just got the granulated tasted of sugar. I could also put saccharine in, but it would be just that- a chemically sweet flavor that was not ideal for my consumption.
So, I went for Dr. Pepper.
Then a few years ago, I got some Earl Grey. I thought I would give it a whirl- literally- and try it out. To my astonishment, when I put sugar in the hot tea and stirred, the sugar dissolved and became one with the tea and water. The missing element was the heat- I had motion, I had the right chemicals, but I needed the heat agent to create the tea I was longing for.
That, my friends, is when I learned the relevance of chemistry.
And there is a chemistry to teaching. Our students are part, are content is part, and we are the stirrer. We try to mix our students with the content, but often what happens is a cloud in which some flavor of learning is present, but ultimately the students and the content separate. We are missing the heat needed to break down each part so it can be more completely combined.
I believe the heat for this particular mixture- students and content- is relevance. Just like I did not see the need for chemistry until I discovered the chemical process of heating the tea to blend the sugar and tea and water to make my tea, students do not see the value of our content until they see why it benefits them.
As educators, let me encourage you to find your heat source for making your content relevant to your students. Then grab a spoon!
It will be a great blend.
I teach Psychology, Sociology, World History Honors and Debate at College Station High School, as well as coach the debate team, sponsor the TED Ed Club, and I am the Lead Innovator for LEADS CSISD (A student leadership empowerment program for 5th-8th graders). I am an aspiring administrator.