It was a lot of work, and it snuck up on her faster than she had expected, making her winter break more of a science symposium than a festive holiday break from school.
Well, here we are again. My youngest, Grace, is now where her sister was four years ago, coming up with a science project by tomorrow. It's Sunday afternoon as I write this and she's still not sure what she's going to turn in.
It sounds like Grace has been procrastinating, but in reality, she's done anything but procrastinate. She's been developing and researching ideas for a good part of the last two weeks. So, then, why all this last-minute scramble?
It's because her teacher seems a bit unreasonable. Mind you, the information I am getting is from Grace, so it may be exaggerated, but this isn't the first time that we've crossed paths with her; she was Riley's teacher in middle school as well.
Grace came up with an idea (I don't want to get into specifics, in case said teacher stumbles across this piece), but the teacher wasn't happen with it because she didn't feel that Grace was "passionate" about it. So, my daughter comes home and she, my wife and I brainstorms all sorts of interesting project ideas (side note: my wife and I both are public school educators as well). The teacher shoots them down. Her reasoning: no one would ever do that in real life (of course not... that's what scientists do. They try things no one else would think of, duh!).
So, my daughter asks her for some ideas since the teacher has shot down all of hers. The teacher asks what she's interested in. Grace tells her, then she goes about giving her very vague ideas that the teacher can't fully conceptualize. So, Grace goes online and even asks a professional in the field who had won a couple of prestigious awards for ideas. No go!
The reason being: her teacher says: I don't like behavioral science projects and nothing with music, yet those fall right into the passion that the teacher said she should investigate. And, by the way, it says right there on the assignment sheet that one of the experiment choices could be behavioral science.
So, here we are, in the eleventh hour and Grace is unsure of what to do. You know what I want to do, right? I want to tell this woman that just because she doesn't like behavioral science or music doesn't mean that one of her students can't investigate it. It would be like me being a music teacher and offering a singing showcase, but not letting my students choose to sing opera because I can't connect to it!
But, instead, I step back (as hard as it was), and tell my daughter that there's no winning in this situation. If she chooses what she wants to do, the teacher will be angry because she's alraedy told her not to do them. If she does something else, it will just be jumping through hoops, because it's an assignment and it will have no meaning to her. I told her to accept that there's no winning this and that she'll have to accept what happens and move on.
You know what my kid did? Last night she did more research and found that what she really wants to investigate is something scientists are really studying and with trembling fingers she emails her teacher last night. She told her that she has been racking her brain, looking for a science project to make the teacher happy, but in reality, she's not excited by them. She attached links to the research, told her that it's legitimate science, and said she didn't want to have any regrets, so she's sending this email hoping her teacher will change her mind.
It's been fifteen hours, and no response yet. She has a back ip plan in case her teacher fails to respond and repeats her "no", but I was so proud of my girl for standing up for herself when Mom and Dad didn't step in.
image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/alternative-energy-biofuel-1042411/