I traveled to Clearwater High School early this morning and hung out with a complete passel of science teachers. It was the Pinellas County Schools - District Wide Training Science Mini-Conference . Every year, it reminds me in no small way of The National Science Teachers Association conferences that I used to quite regularly attend - only I don't have to present at this one, thank goodness. We filled the high school's auditorium. I sat with several Madeira Beach science teachers and my good friend Mr. Barron. We started at Madeira Beach together. Mr. Barron was going to be at Madeira Beach this year too, but he switched to Dunedin MS about the same time I switched back to Madeira from Seminole. Can you say "musical chairs?" I'll miss him, we put some really good work together. The first thing Mr Barron asked of me was could he "steal" some of my labs and take them with him. That just proves he's a genuine science teacher now.
After a surprisingly short welcoming speech and some introductory information, there were door prize drawings, directions to web resources by suppliers of science services, products, and more testing programs. Following a "coffee" break, we were entertained by a young motivational speaker telling of how he'd learned life lessons that apply to all of us. He reminded us how important it was to FOCUS, find balance, communicate with clarity, never stop learning, keep perspective, and let go of that which holds one back. He recounted and demonstrated how he learned these important lessons by balancing ladders on his chin, cinching a bareback bronco's girth, unearthing cemeteries in Scotland, and lassoing wild beaver.
It was an interesting morning.
After lunch, I volunteered to attend a presentation on safety in the laboratory. Federal and state government agencies are really taking high school and middle school lab safety VERY SERIOUSLY. There are some really big fines if it is discovered rules aren't being followed. At Madeira Beach, we are lucky. A very thorough check-up was done over the summer. The importance of doing experiments - safely, and what makes for a truly safe science lab was a pretty hot topic in the seminar, as well as types of equipment, ventilation, emergency kits ... and more. Madeira Beach can be proud to have such good labs in the science building. The two other seminars I wanted to attend were canceled.
When you put it all together: old colleagues, door prizes, safety debates, rodeo ponies, spill kits, wild beaver on a rope and ancient boneyards .. it was a pleasant end to the week.