I Can’t Teach Science

Ever since the State of the Union address on January 24th, I have seen more blog posts and articles on STEM than I have in a very, very long time. The problem is, they're all focusing on the wrong thing.

I feel like I'm channeling Michael Doyle and even Dan Meyer today, but it really is getting to the point where the nation's science, math, technology, and engineering teachers need to speak up more and let policymakers know that they aren't allowing us to teach anymore.

Science can't be "taught." I can tell kids how chromosomes randomly separate into sperm and eggs that eventually might become a living organism, but that takes so much away from the magic of seeing how diverse life is when the two meet. I am required to teach how to find the probability of what the results of a cross will be, but you cannot cage life into a Punnett square. But, by law, that's what I have to do. I'm evaluated on it. My students are evaluated on it. But, in reality, they aren't being evaluated on what they know about science.

Science is living. Science is making observations, asking questions, and then finding what seems to be a good explanation for what you saw. Science is communal. They need time to debate, to discuss, and to troubleshoot. Otherwise, we're just teaching letters and numbers now and that's our science scores are so low.

Science has become artificial, and just like artificial grass, the burn hurts much more when you fall down.

2 thoughts on “I Can’t Teach Science

  1. Quinn Barreth says:

    I remember how in my ed degree I was introduced to the book “Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood” and how I saw the beauty of exploration. For me, teaching has become a quest to get kids interested in exploring, or at least identifying what they are passionate about doing. It is disheartening to see what education has been reduced to (in the chemical sense) south of the 49th parallel. My sympathies on the struggles you face in trying to teach what you are passionate about.

    If I may encourage you, this has all the feel of a fad, and hopefully will fade away in the next few years (not that that helps in the short term).

  2. My name is Ariel Robinson and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am studying to be a math teacher so I was interested in this post. I think that, just like you stated about science, math also needs to be discussed and troubleshooted instead of just telling our students how to do it. If the classes were more hands on, maybe our scores would be higher.

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