This week has been Teacher Appreciation Week, a time that I reflect on those special teachers and mentors who helped me along the way. For me personally, I didn’t get excited about science until my first-year in college when most students had already picked their fields of study — it was due to an awesome general chemistry professor, Dr. Bond (yes that is his real name, so appropriate) who made science, well fun! He always had a demonstration ready that would illustrate a concept in a dynamic — and often exploding way! After that class, I knew I wanted a career where I could explore the world around me and learn new information every day.
If I run into a person who cringes at the very mention of science or math, my first reaction is to ask, “So did you have a bad teacher that ruined it for you?” And the answer is usually a story about a teacher who made life miserable for the individual. A difficult teacher can completely turn people off to the science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields, but likewise, an engaged teacher can inspire others to pursue these disciplines. These teachers who care deserve to be recognized for their dedication in sharing a passion for STEM.
Consider dropping a note (or tweet at #thankateacher) to your favorite teacher or mentor to let them know how much they helped you in your schooling or career. You can also make a donation to a K-12 classroom teacher on DonorsChoose.org in honor of that person. It’s never too late to acknowledge those people who actually took the time to make your life more interesting and successful.
Who inspired your STEM career? Use the comment box to share your story.