I teach 9th graders. This is the grade that many high school teachers try to avoid at all cost, mostly because of maturity levels. For the last 7 years I have been teaching at least 50%, and often up to 85% 9th graders. I actually campaigned o remain a teacher of these students. Some of the other science teachers ask me why I teach one of the most challenging grades in high school. I find the answer to be a simple one. This is their first impression of science at the high school level. This is going to be one of the last opportunities to make a lasting impression on these students. This is a chance to inspire the students to pursue more high school science electives, and hopefully want to continue on a path of science that will carry them onto college, and maybe even a career as a scientist.
Maybe those are lofty goals, but someone has to let them know how amazing and how important science is. I hope to be the one who lets them in on this amazing secret.
All school districts are suffering financially right now. It impacts everyone. The way it impacts my classroom is that I often have to many of the labs as demo's or make the labs large group projects. Last year I went from teaching an average of 185 students a day to 217. This changed the numbers of students in my classroom from the upper 20's - low 30's to 40+ students. Because of the increase, I often do not have the supplies I need for small group (usually pairs or trios) labs. I have to ask students to pull out their cell phones with timers, because I do not have enough stop watches for every group