I know you have an impossible job, and I know you're getting hammered from 73 different angles, and I know the last person you need to hear from is another high school teacher sitting on his throne blaming you for every ill that ever afflicted humans.
Your students worship you. Every casual word that slips from your lips influences the variegated connection of neurons that forms a child's view of the world. A child's obvious misconceptions get corrected early and often, and that is great!
You've done a wonderful job convincing them spectacularly difficult things to accept are true. My lambs come to me believing that the Earth is round and that is spins, that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, that humans arrived long after the dinosaurs left.
It's the subtle stuff, though, that slips by:
- Winter has nothing to do with how close the Earth is to the sun.
- Oxygen does not get converted into carbon dioxide.
- Plants do not get most of their mass from dirt.
- Food is not energy.
- Energy does not recycle.
If you are going to spend time on science, though, please be wary of glib explanations that will confound a child's true understanding just a few years down the line.
Language matters far more than facile explanations of the natural world. Unless you know what energy is, and I got to tell you that I do not, do not pretend a 7 year old can master this. Unless you can explain a concept accurately without using science jargon, do not pretend your lambs will get it.
My students are amazed water comes out of flame, something easily demonstrated at any level of public education, yet accept that the Earth is round at face value, because you, the most powerful person in this child's life outside of family (and sadly occasionally including family), said so.
Your words carry the power of Cassandra, and like her words, can easily be confused, even when you speak the truth. I envy your power. Please don't abuse it.