Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Colin?!?! He's the Holy Grail of Lab Partners!"

The experiences that we have in school can have a tremendous impact on the rest of our lives. The worst classroom experience I’ve ever had was Algebra II with Ms. Barnes as a sophomore at Century High. She was a new teacher straight out of college and did not know how to teach math or control the classroom. None of the students were focused, and her solution was to bring in a bucket of toys (‘distracters’) that we were given to play with when we got bored in class. I have no idea what she was thinking giving 15 year-olds toys in class.

Ms. Barnes had no enthusiasm or passion for algebra, but even worse was how she assessed us on the material. We took tests in groups, with no measures to be sure that everyone participated. Some tests were open note and open book, which doesn’t test your knowledge on anything. I found myself dreading math, a subject I had loved for years.

On the contrary, the best educational experience I have ever had was Chemistry II with Mr. Ferrin that same semester. I despised my first chemistry class in high school and Ferrin’s Chem II class had a reputation of being the hardest class at Century. Ferrin assigned tons of homework every night and expected your best work on every assignment, which lead to the reputation. However, he was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about chemistry. I found myself enjoying my homework and even smiling during quizzes (causing the quote in the title). Ferrin earned the respect of every student and controlled the classroom. Mr. Ferrin’s passion for chemistry is the reason I am majoring in Chemical Engineering.

Looking back on that semester, I am amazed that one man and his class completely changed the direction of my academic life.

1 comment:

HBui1 said...

A bucket of toys? Whaa...? Why in the world would that be appropriate at a high school? I'm better sure her job was to make it so her students WEREN'T bored or would ever have to play with her bucket of toys.

Could you imagine not taking that science course? What would you major in today? WHERE WOULD YOU BE? I, myself, probably should have taken a risk in high school and taken that AP chemistry class that was offered... maybe then I would have discovered a newfound love for chemistry and not have to struggle as much today.