Unsurprisingly, as a chemistry teacher I spend a lot of time talking about chemical bonds. While I may find this fascinating, I fully understand that many of my students and many of you readers find this topic significantly less interesting. However, as a teacher and a child of God, I think it is important that we all spend time cultivating connections with those with whom we daily interact.
This past school year I have been making myself stretch outside the normal, comfortable arena of my chemistry classroom and the science department in order to help both myself and my students create new bonds.
Our Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry classes took field trips to see the science labs at Huntington University and Indiana Wesleyan University, respectively, and open the eyes of our students to what science looks like beyond the walls of Concordia.
Inside Concordia, some advanced chemistry students and I have helped Mr. Kaschinske’s Honors Algebra II classes understand logarithms by having math class in the chemistry class to learn about pH.
In an exciting new venture, this past year the Honors Chemistry class collaborated with the Ceramics students to create custom pottery glazes for the pieces created by our wonderfully gifted students in the art department. I, personally, was stretched beyond the material in the textbook and in my previous chemistry training to learn new terminology and skills.
In each of these distinct ventures, the same lessons keep getting repeated: be bold, step out, ask for help, and enjoy the unexpected experiences that often go beyond the original plan.
The beauty of bonding, as any good chemist can tell you, is that it is more than the sum of its parts. It is not merely the merging of two things together, but is the creation of something new, and often, beautiful.
Teaching at Concordia allows for wonderful relationships to develop each day, and by purposefully reaching outside of the humdrum classroom my students and I have had the opportunity to enhance our good experiences into great ones.