20 January 2009

A historic day

Wow. What a day. I have truly witnessed history today. I watched this nation's first african-american president inaugurated into the office of President. This just 40 very short years after the nation's witnessed the assassination of a great Civil Rights leader. I know there are many who are what I would call cynical about President Obama's views, but I am supportive of something different. My political views have definitely mellowed over the last several years and I think the previous administration had something to do with that. I still appreciate some of the views of the Republican party, but I am ready for things to be different than what they are right now. That might have happened with McCain, but I am not sad we are looking at a black man as our leader. Nothing at all wrong with that.

I am personally excited about our future. Let's enjoy this time of cooperation between all races while it lasts.

12 January 2009

The other end of the spectrum

Today I was struck by the dichotomy of my freshman class from last semester and my AP Physics 2 class that I am teaching this semester. Every student in the Phys. II class is a former student of mine and the vast majority are seniors. Both of those facts contribute to positive classroom behavior. Students come to my class knowing what my rules are, and yet are willing to come anyway. We have covered more in last 3 days than I would cover in 3 weeks with the freshmen. (okay, I admit that may be an exaggeration, but not by much). There is a something to be said for teaching the oldest students at a school.

Basically, with a freshman physical science class, students have not been successful in math and science and that is why they are in that class. By the same token, students have enrolled in physics II because they have been successful in math and science. In fact, they are most likely going to major in one of those two subjects in college.

Also, it was so rewarding to read why most of the Physics 2 students took my class again this semester. Apparently, I have been able to impact many students from last semester where science is concerned. Even when I have a semester and I don't feel like I am making a difference, students come and tell me that I did something that made them think about the world in a new (for them) way and my faith in myself is restored.