Saturday, October 6, 2007

Experimenting

Two posts in one day? I figure I'll get while the getting's good.
I spent most of the day at school working (except for a short break to watch my favorite 8 1/2 year old kick butt in a soccer game). I did a couple of chalkboard drawings:
Not thrilled with the hand, but hands aren't easy!

This is a quote from Marcus Aurelius that came from the chemistry book I'm using. I kinda like the campfire picture, at least it looks good this
small :-). I think I'll add some shadow to the stones.

I started doing some of the demonstrations that I'll be doing in front of the class. I'm sure glad I did them ahead of time. Most of them went well, though I usually had to do them two or three times. A couple of them were quite combustible! The room smoked up and there were some pretty spectacular flames. The class is going to love this block. There was only
one casualty so far. This is the surface of the science table. I did one of the combustible experiments on a glass dish thinking it would be flame-proof enough. A couple of minutes after the giant flame appeared the glass dish shattered spreading pieces all over the room, burning the counter and filling the room with an awful toxic smell. Oops.
All of this experimenting is fun and it's such a good example of how this job pushes me to do things I never imagined myself doing. I mean, in so many ways the thought of rifling through tubs full of chemicals, learning what the symbols mean, figuring out the reactions between them, and then conducting the experiments is completely overwhelming! Let alone being confident and composed enough to present them with authority to a group of 7th graders!
Among Waldorf teachers there's an understanding that it's not necessary to be an expert at everything you do with the students. The students can sense you're striving to learn and to become a better human being, and this is what counts most. So, whenever I find myself a bit out of my comfort zone and fumbling a bit to find my way in this job I repeat this mantra, "It's in the striving. It's in the striving." I think this block is going to have me really striving.

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