Well here it is two weeks after the MESSENGER Flyby Event that I attended. I have to ask myself if it was all worth it. If you are a teacher, I will ask you something first:
How important would something have to be to take you out of the classroom after only 13 class days into the school year. That something would take you away for 5 class days. That means, in addition to the normal start of the year routines(getting to know your new students, lesson planning, etc) you have to create substitute lesson plans for a sub who might not be from your subject. You also have to help your district find funding to pay for the entire trip. you then have to grade all the missed work when you get back since 5-week grades are due by end of the week.
So what do you say? Is there anything worth that? I did not think so. I was wrong. An hour ago I was tweeted(don’t ask if you have to ask) by @cbrannon “I am looking at the NASA MESSENGER program. Are you still enjoying the benefits and satisfied with the program? AND Why?” I think I may have broken the record for continued tweets in answering him. I won’t bore you with all that i replied. Let me say that now that I am almost caught up(and on yet another weekend trip as part of my role with STANYS) and overcoming the cold I caught. I can safely say that there is nothing I have done as a science teacher that has helped me bring more excitement to my class and school. The students think the whole experience is awesome. Now they have caught my excitement for all things space related. Cafeteria workers and secretaries and custodians ask me how NASA is. I get teased all the time by my fellow teachers about when I am going to space – all with love and excitement. People of all ages love having a connection, no matter how many degrees away it is, to NASA. While I was at the MESSENGER Flyby, I had a conversation with Dr. Jeff Goldstein about how NASA is the only Government Agency that inspires awe and excitement anymore. He kinda agreed with my position but defended a few other agencies and departments. However, I really feel that, in my experience as a common person, nobody gets excited positively about anything government related except for NASA. Some people, like president Obama inspire and excite, but that is the person, not the office. We have lost that excitement for everything the government touches – except NASA.
They tried to tarnish it, but the space lovers at NASA brought it back.
Bit by Bit.
Hubble. The Rovers. The Mars Phoenix Mission. Hubble again!
The Flyby is over but I can’t say that I will stop doing these events. Heck, if it was up to me, this would only be the beginning. I want to personally spread the word to everyone in the world. Starting with students and teachers.
I can’t stop and my students don’t want me to.
They won’t want you to either.