I tried to use his equipment, his models, his plans. His kids routinely earned 5's on the AP test. I think one of them may have found a cure for some rare disease while working in his class. They come back to visit with spectacular tales of success in college.
He was truly a wizard.
Do my eyes look a little green to you?
Folks assume that because I was once a doc I have a clue about biology. Medicine involves more guessing than even those who practice it realize, and though I was a decent doc, medicine remains a craft, not a science.
I know a bit about a lot of things, particularly things that excite me, and I have a pretty good track record getting kids excited about science, particularly the bright wackadoodles who (rationally) decided that high school is mostly a waste of time. Some of AP (*gasp*!) is a waste of time.
I bombed. I tried to follow the AP curriculum to the letter. I tried to cram two semesters' worth of trivia into my lambs' brains. I pushed, they balked. A few quiet ones kept me going--it's a privilege teaching bright kids, and humbling to know they (mostly) did not need me.
This week I disassembled the guru's terrarium. Heck, I already managed to off the salamanders. I moved the fish into my backyard pond. I tossed away some of his old books. I threw away a pile of his exams.
I shared dinner with him this week--he understands (better than I do) why I need to carve out my niche.
So now I've bought myself a summer of curriculum development.
I had this year's valedictorian in my class--as kind as she is brilliant. She had a huge smile for me right after graduation.
I realized (too late) that my task is to guide, not push, those who love biology and who are in the course for the right reasons, not because guidance said it will make their transcript look better.
School's been out for two days, and already I want to jump back in. I have the summer to make a course that works for me and my lambs. I'll be posting thoughts and asking for your help along the way.
You will, no?