Pivot on a Dime

News from the Middle School classroom

March 26, 2021


One of the beauties of my job is that I can make it up as I go. OK, that is not entirely true, but what I mean is that I can choose how and what I teach based on the students, what is happening in the world, and meeting the standards adopted by the school.  Before spring break, upon completing the US History Museum Project, I gave students a choice of what direction they wanted to go in science.  Cell Biology or Environmental Science.  Secretly, I wanted to understand the science and the risks behind vaccines because I knew I would be able to get one soon. Vaccines were just rolling out to more and more people and also there was a lot of misinformation floating around, I wanted to be informed and I wanted the students to be informed.  I was particularly curious about the new mRNA type of vaccine and how it worked.

After quizzing students on their knowledge of cells, vaccines, climate change, and related topics, I asked them to think about what they would like to know more about.  I gave them a night to research and think about it. In the morning, they voted for vaccines.  Yay!!  I promise I did not lead them there!

To understand vaccines, students have to understand cell structure and function which is what we have been learning since spring break – soon we will be on to vaccines!

This gets me thinking about how thankful I am to be able to work in a place that allows me and my students the opportunity to choose what we want to study. In fact, that is part of the PNA overall philosophy.  I also appreciate how easily it is for me to switch directions to meet the needs and interests of my students as long as I am teaching them the content standard adopted by PNA.

I think back to when I expectantly had the opportunity to take my students to Utah this spring. At first, I hesitated, specifically due to Covid. But then, as I processed this chance, I picked up the phone to the Head of School (during spring break) and asked if this was something I could possibly entertain during this Covid Year.  The answer, with Covid mitigation planning, was “Yes.”

Pivot on a Dime.  The agility of PNA makes this school an awesome place to teach.  But more importantly, it makes PNA an awesome place for students to learn and grow.