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October 24, 2012

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I love this picture! You're right - materials handling and setting up for labs is such a time-intensive and invisible aspect of teaching science.

I can't imagine what it's like to be a science teacher who teaches more than one grade level or content area!

When I lived in Africa, the bus drivers would go get any supplies we needed, and our full time teaching assistants would take care of storage, ordering, cleaning up, etc. Because of this broader distribution of responsibilities, I had more time for the things you mentioned like instructional planning, assessment, and feedback. Maybe one of these days our education system will catch up.

This probably merits a separate post, but along the lines of managing equipment, another invisible is managing technology. I have a laptop cart with seven computers in my room - a wonderful resource - as long as they're working. But I can't tell you many times I've planned a web-based lesson, only to find that three of my computers can't "find" the wireless network. Which means I get to spend fifteen frantic minutes, troubleshooting the damn things.

Yeah, and if maintaining equipment is a challenge (I'm not good at it and don't seem to improve) it becomes even more of a chore. I'm grateful for all the equipment I have but it is a lot of work storing it all year until you need it again making sure, like you said, that you still have enough of everything you need to use it again. It takes careful planning or fretful fixing to make it work. It would be so cool to have someone replenish our Science kits but alas, it's all on us.

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