CSTA Classroom Science

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Shawna Kolmel, CASE President

How is it possible that the new school year is already upon us? Did summer actually happen this year? How can it possibly be over already? July is probably the one month as an educator that, unless you teach over the summer, can actually be filled with fun and excitement unrelated to work. For me, it is a month of decompressing and recharging; however, 2020 has made both of those tasks rather challenging. Instead, the month of July 2020 came with more questions than answers and name changes, both for myself and for the association. Summer happened…it was a whirlwind…it was exciting.

With summer over, I can honestly say I know what you did last summer. You spent the first half of your summer struggling with the ending of a school year without any real closure, wondering if you were successful in helping your students learn and succeed in an online environment. You spent the middle of summer second guessing what you did during the spring shutdown and stressing over what to plan for in the next school year. You spent the end of summer waiting for answers, eager to find a way to make the start of school as engaging and successful for your students as possible, and for many of you, trying to learn a new science program. All of that while still trying to navigate your everyday lives in the midst of a pandemic. Instead of decompressing and recharging, you are still operating on low batteries and you are not alone.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to scroll through numerous social media groups and read articles on distance learning. Not once did I notice a slowdown in the discussions taking place on how to provide amazing science to students remotely and how to connect with students to provide them with the social and emotional support they need now more than ever. This won’t go unnoticed in your virtual classrooms. I am here to tell you that your students will be better off because of you, regardless of what the answers are for the fall. What will recharge your batteries is seeing a new crop of students open their eyes to the wonders of science and discover that it truly is all around us, not just in the classroom during third period or the 45 minutes after lunch. Revel in the successes and learn from the struggles, but all the while remember that you are not alone. We are truly all in this together and CASE is here to provide you with a community in which to collaborate and connect.

In addition to planning for the unknown with the upcoming school year, I also played the game of “What will 2020 throw at us next?” I still have money on Godzilla and aliens, but am really hopeful Alexa and Skynet don’t become friends in August and really throw a wrench into the start of school. Regardless of what the universe throws at us, science education will take place because of educators such as you. Take the time to enjoy the last few moments of summer. I wish you all the best for starting the school year and hope to see you all virtually at our annual conference.



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Shawna Metcalf

Written by Shawna Kolmel

Shawna is a science specialist at Glendale Unified School District and is President of CASE (2019-2021).

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