Joined St. Stephen’s in 2010
I adore Middle School students; they are moody, yet malleable, even as their skill sets develop and their awareness of the world around them unfolds. I must confess a bias, one I interpret as a higher calling — the task of awakening scientific imagination in young women so they will consider careers in science. This is best accomplished while they are young and impressionable. I am dedicated to doing this, both by precept and by example.
I joined St. Stephen’s in 2010 after teaching at an all-girls prep school for 23 years in New Orleans. My return to teaching in a coed science program has been both challenging and inspiring. I am charged with helping students of both genders find their “voice” within their individual understandings of scientific phenomena.
The importance of science is self-evident. While the body of scientific knowledge grows at exponential rates in today’s world, basic scientific methodology is fixed and unchanging; it is the gateway to an understanding of the forces — technological, medical, psychological, environmental, geographical and agricultural, just to name a few — forces that will impact our students all their lives. Moreover, scientific methodology — learning to think objectively like a scientist — can be applied to solving many of life’s problems outside the realm of scientific inquiry.
Although we need poets and artists to heighten our awareness of the world around us, we need scientists in order to understand the world around us. The path of scientific understanding is not an easy one. Some pain is inevitably produced by the frustrating process inherent in reaching sound scientific conclusions. With this in mind, I see my teaching task, broadly stated, as encouraging my students to rise to the learning challenges of the modern realms of science.
I try to create opportunities for students to write critically in science. The first laboratory activity of the school year, the alien creature lab, provides such an opportunity. Our sixth grade students often arrive at St. Stephen’s from 20 or more diverse educational programs. As a result, many students have had little or no formal science instruction while others have enjoyed rich and varied science curricula. It is through this initial laboratory activity that the “ground is leveled.” The students and I write and edit a document together, working through each step of the scientific method. They then produce drafts of the lab using a Google document template, and I suggest edits online. Using Google Classroom in this way has been transformational.