Tuesday, March 22, 2011

blowing stuff up

I love teaching chemistry. I get to play with matches, and pour methanol on counter tops,and burn holes in the asphalt of the basketball court (you would think I would have learned from 8 years ago when I burned through the asphalt of the new driveway at school).

I love the look on a 13 year old's face, a look of wonder and awe, when you surprise them. And, it is possible to surprise a 13 year old. Even yet.

I love how they applauded spontaneously after I poured alcohol onto the palm of my hand, and then lit it! It was worthy of applause, but still, they are 13, and I am no Justin Bieber.

I love prepping for chemistry experiments, creating 6 foot high blue flames, alone in my classroom, in the quiet after hours of the school day.

I love the questions they ask, and the poems they write about something as 'ordinary' as a wood fire.

I love playing with candles, and discovering new things for myself, and then sharing them with the class.

I love hearing from their parents the discussions that ensue around the dining room table as they describe their chemistry lessons.

So, yeah, I like blowing stuff up. I like the blue, red, green and white flames. I like the smells, even the noxious ones.

So, when a student once asked me "Mrs. Taylor, are you a scientist?", I thought, well, no, not really.

But actually, I think I am, cause I like blowing stuff up! And that's a start.

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