Recap of this Week's Teachings

Hola!

I don't have as much time to blog as I used to, so instead I've just been writing really long Facebook posts. Here are all my posts on how teaching is going though.

Day 1 of teaching: Taught my first day of class today! It was challenging but fun. Teaching Neuroscience to a group of about 15 incoming Madison High School freshmen. I'm going to grow a lot from this experience.

Day 2 of teaching: Today we taught about the 4 lobes of the brain as well as the cerebellum & brainstem. It was really exciting to see these kids go from very sleepy individuals at the beginning to yelling out answers and raising their hands at the end. They definitely appreciated my effort to remember their names & how they were doing that day before I went over an activity with them. Staying positive & energetic & being in constant engagement for 2 hours is definitely tiresome by the end (I always want to take a nap after teaching), but it is definitely rewarding when you think: "Hey, they totally understood and were excited by what I taught them today! That feels great!" I have a much deeper appreciation for teachers now & I think that's a great lesson within itself.

Day 3 of teaching: Today was a little bit tougher. Kids were really tired & difficult to engage. They definitely have the lobes of brain down, which is awesome! We went over the structure & function of neurons & how action potentials work, which is even dense material in college. I was really proud of them for what they did remember though. Highlight of my day was when it came to the neuron drawings.1 kid wasn't drawing & when I asked him why he said: "I suck at art."
Me: "No you don't. No one who tries sucks. There are no rules in art."
Him: "Yes there are. Our middle school teacher was so strict. She'd mark us down if we didn't draw a perfect circle with a protractor. We had too many guidelines. We couldn't be creative." He then added, "It's like taking away our rights."
I noted how frustrating that must have been & how all the art projects we do in class will not restrict his creativity like that. I remember him smiling a little and as challenging as today was his smile was worth it.

Day 4 of teaching: Today went so much better! The kids definitely like Gavin and me. For some reason they kept asking us to do a rap battle, which I thought was hilarious. I ran with it! I was like: "Yeah, we can do it as long as we're rapping about the brain!" We demonstrated the all or nothingness of action potentials by dropping mentos into diet coke. This was my first time ever doing it, so I actually screamed louder than the kids because most of them had already done it before. The coke shot SO high though it was so fun! Then we went back inside & reviewed the structure/functions of neurons & how neurotransmitters work & also talked about stress. I went over the sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous system & also talked about cortisol & the pros & cons of stress. Then Gavin & I led a guided meditation, which was more of a comedic sketch & had the kids cracking up. I made Gavin read from the script because I kept laughing. In the end though I talked about how important laughter is to reducing stress & how we all need to find something in our day (whether it's finding a quiet place or laughing w/friends) that recharges us somehow. It was a fantastic day! Can't believe I've already completed & survived my first week of teaching Neuroscience to high school students!

Blog to you later!
Love,
Manders

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