Guiding vs. Controlling

As the first part of Regents Chemistry ends with the start of winter break and the New Year, I want to take pause to review where we are academically and socially, I decided I would write what I am thinking about, and hope it impacts the right segment of my students.

For those of you who are rockin’ chem, this is not for you.

For those of you who are struggling still, try to decide why.  Is it a lack of prep or study?  Or is it a lack of paying attention in class, are you letting yourself get distracted.  Or are thinking that you are so far behind that you’ve given up?  None of these are okay.  No matter what choices you’ve made so far, you can bounce back.

You are not just a number in a box, although your grades are a reflection of part of you.  If you don’t like that number, especially if it’s too low, then decide to fix it.  Don’t get mad at the teacher, or the chemistry, or the other kids who seem to get it.  Life is unfair and people who are better at something are always in your way.  Happens to all of us.  Hardly ever do we meed the “world’s best” at anything.  Get over yourself, and get over what you don’t understand, and ask for some help.

I don’t want to control you, I know I can’t.  I tell you over and over to use your units, put in a sign for percent error, and to use formulas.  I tell you put molar mass on the left side of the page (because the percent comp by mass goes on the right).  When you choose to do things your own way, before you are masters of the material, you tend to make mistakes.  It’s not that I demand you do your work the way I teach it to you, or else.  There are many ways to get math problems correct.  I show you a way you can master, and when you do, and truly understand, then you can switch things up and take shortcuts that you understand.  there are no shortcuts to understanding, and the math short cuts only work when you are completely aware of what is going on.  

Most importantly, when you do make mistakes, get back up and get back into it.  Don’t wallow and mope, don’t sulk, don’t cry, and don’t give up.  Fight back, even if it means you need to relearn material that you don’t know yet.  Nothing we learn will be over, all the coursework builds upon itself all year.  By the end of the year you will need to be able to do everything at once.  It’s all connected – we don’t finish anything.  You have to juggle all of the balls of knowledge at once.  It takes practice.

If you need help, please come in for lunch and be ready to learn.  Eat your pride and eat your lunch in room 262 when you decide to learn, I will try to teach it to you again.  I won’t get mad, I won’ t tease you, I will help you.  Don’t make believe that this is okay if it’s not.  “Existence exists”, “A is A”, and what ever is real for you, that’s the reality you’re in.  Make sure you’re where you need to be.  Ask me who this nice person is.  She’s smart and taught me that you can’t hide from the truth, it’s real.


Your teacher, Charlie Arbuiso


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