∆ Jackson

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 13 2013

Life Lessons in Science Class

After a disappointing past couple weeks, my first group of final exams are in (Seniors take their exams a week earlier than everyone else) and as the last question on both my Physics and Physical Science exams, I asked the students this:

Write at least three paragraphs describing what you think is the most IMPORTANT thing you learned in Physics/Physical Science class this year.  Explain why and give lots of details.

Their essays speak for themselves.  Here are some of the highlights.

A young lady from my Physics class who admits that she had a stinky attitude at the beginning of the year wrote me over a page:

The most important thing that I learned in Physics this year is to never give up!  At one point in time around the beginning of the year me and my classmates had given all the way up on Physics.  I gave up mostly because I didn’t understand nor catch on to anything that was being taught.  After my classmates and I finally sat down with patience and tried to get it, then it fell in place.  We began to participate more in class, then class started to get fun and a little easier.  Now we actually like Physics and what we learn.

. . . I learned a life goal, never give up or if I fail, get back up.  I gave up on Physics at the beginning, but not all the way.  I came back.  When I came back it was with a more positive and respectful attitude.  You’re also a teacher that didn’t give up on us, because I know we made your job hard at first, but you didn’t give up on us and we came [together] as a class then.

From a young whose dedication to school never failed to impress me:

. . . Physics deal with everything in life.  This really was the most important thing I learned.  As we went through the school year and through each objective, we learned that Physics is everything.  The way we walk, the things that surround us, and all is Physics.

From one of the most personable young men in all my classes:

All through high school I’ve had a problem working with people.  . . . When I started school and came to Physics, I learned how much more efficient it is to work together. . .  I’ve also learned that when you’re working in groups it’s a lot of fun.  You get to express your ideas about a topic and hear what other people think as well. . . . My homeroom class is the best I’ve had all four years of high school.  THANK YOU MS K!

From another young lady who tries, tries, tries and refuses to give up:

The most important thing I have learned in Physics is that you have to believe that you, yourself, can do and accomplish anything that you want.  I feel this because Physics is only a very (7 people) small class, [but] when we work together as a unit we can get anything done.  . . . I feel that our lesson was to keep trying and open up to people.  It is also a lesson on hard work, because I promise that hard work will get you far. . . . This has also given me the motivation to keep trying and never stop doing what I need.  It is also a way that [I] should keep striving for what I want.  I also would like to thank you for pushing us and believing in us.

From the young lady in Physics with the highest class average:

This year, Physics class has been the class to get me really prepared for college.  It has taught me to get organized, do assignments, and study for tests and quizzes.  When I first got to this class, my grades on tests were low because I did not study at all.  So I started studying and my grades improved.  I know in college I will have to study a lot more, so that helped me become more focused.

When I first got to this class I was not very organized either.  So, when I took notes and homework in  a small notebook, that helped keep everything together.  Everything was neat with the titles of the notes and I was never that organized for a whole year in all my years of school.

. . . This Physics class also taught me how to take notes, which is something I will definitely need next year for college.  I learned how to not write every single detail down, but to write the important ideas that I would need to study.  I also learned different note-taking styles so if one way does not work for me in college, I will have a back-up plan.  In this Physics class I learned a lot the whole year, but the main thing it has done for me was get me college ready.  Thank you Ms K!

And from a soon-to-be-graduating senior, providing he turns in his final research paper, from one of my Physical Science classes:

The most important thing I learned in Physical Science is how everything on earth evolves around science.  From telephones that we talk on to the water we drink.  I also learned that if it wasn’t for science a lot of things wouldn’t be the way it is today. . . I also learned that people use science on a daily basis for anything.  the doctors use X-ray machines, they invented bigger windmills, and they make water more purified.  I recently learned about waves and X-rays are one of them.  I watched a video in class of them taking down the old windmills and putting up bigger and stronger ones.  And these are . . . things I learned in Physical Science.


I am so proud of them all for what they have accomplished and I am so excited to discover what the rest of my students will write.  Maybe they are not masters of our science content, but at least they have learned some more important lessons about life. : )

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