Something that has bothered me ever since I began studying chemistry was how often I heard things like the following:
- “I hate chemistry”
- “I just don't understand chemistry”
- “My brain just doesn't work that way”
I'm not sure which gets a worse rap, physics or chemistry. Most people don't have issues with biology, and if you want to be annoying, biology is just applied chemistry. I suspect these attitudes can be mostly attributed to bad experiences when one first begins learning chemistry. I firmly believe that anyone can master this subject with ample patience, curiosity, and motivation. Really, that includes you! My own chemistry teacher from high school would say “those who stay will become champions.”
As such I try to avoid having preconceived notions as to who may succeed or fail in this area. However, it is certain that some will need more help than others, and I am committed to delivering that help. Everyone should have an equitable opportunity to receive a quality education without artificial barriers put in place to impede those in our society who are most vulnerable to discrimination. I am interested in advancing causes that will protect and expand the rights of students.
It's important that students are challenged to strive to expand their knowledge, but what's key here is that the things that we need to teach them are interesting and potentially personally meaningful. To that end, I want to make chemistry (which many often see as boring) something that is exciting and interesting as it is to me. I want to share that curiosity and enthusiasm with my students by designing a curriculum that effectively communicates it.
Ultimately, chemistry is not something that will be useful for everyone every single day of their lives. However, I think what is more important is that science education is transformative in the ways we reason about the world we live in. There are a lot of lies that spread easily over the Internet these days because people fail to apply scientific reasoning to what they see. Children are the future, and the future needs to be smarter than that.