Who’s in your pocket?

Who does this pocket rock symbolize for you? We all have students who influence us as educators, those students who alter the way we think as teachers and as people. We carry these students around with us for the rest of our careers.

In my pocket is a student who has recently graduated, let’s call him Q. Now, Q was a student who took to my class early on. He loved thinking beyond the box and talking about meta-physical ideas. Q came excitedly and told me about discussions he had on random abstract topics the day before and was more than willing to take questions I posed to him and think about them before resuming discussion the next day. In my eyes, Q loved school and learning.

However, after our first exam, Q’s exuberant attitude seemed to fade and he came to me after receiving his exam back to talk. I will never forget his words, “Miss Fritz, I think I’m going to drop Physics, I just can’t do it.” I was floored! Here was a student with the ability to think critically and deeply and he felt he couldn’t do physics. I later found out that he had always struggled with math, and as soon as we started using math within physics he had trouble following along.

Q has forever changed the way that I approach teaching physics. Everyday I try to blend the conceptual ‘ideas’ behind physics with the mathematical language we use. Physics is not math class, and if we taught it like math class students would miss out on the beauty of explaining WHY things in the world occur.

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.”   – Albert Einstein (Time Magazine, Mar 21, 1949)

Thank you Q. I will forever carry you around in my pocket. Physics is more than doing, and I will always try to teach students that because of you.


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