Brainy Quote of the Day

Sunday, October 17, 2010

GIMP Project and Motivations...

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulating Program. Takes up a bit of space on the hard drive. It's a double entendre since GNU literally stands for "GNU's Not Unix." No insult to African Antelopes/Wildebeest (that is how wildebeest is spelled) intended.

I'm using it to design a logo. It will obviously apply to physics and I hope to young people.

Whether math or physics, I get a lot of: "Mr., I'm no good at this like you."

Unlike my current high school students, I had a few teachers that did not motivate me at ALL to succeed.

During a lab where I asked a simple question about the coefficient of expansion, my middle school science teacher glared and me and yelled: "NO, you big dummy!"

I, like a lot of you had the motivation from my balled fist to deck him and be done with it! I was infuriated and embarrassed. Now that I think of it (remembering his expression), he was probably worried either at me attacking him or my parents costing him his job!

It occurred to me in that stressful laugh at him.

Granted, it was a fake laugh, but far better that the barrage of colorful metaphors I had at the ready from neighborhood games of "playing the dozens." The only loser in that bout would be me, in the office, in I.S.S., embarrassing my parents and on a path that would eventually lead to my destruction.

College was somewhat better, but I did have the occasional professor that earned derisive nicknames like "Mad Dog" and "Psycho." One such chemistry professor had this sign outside his door:

"You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. You can send your child to college, but you cannot make him THINK."

I was the only physics major and only passing grade that second summer session! He flunked all the other CHEMISTRY majors!

I promised myself no matter what, at the high school, college or adult level that I would EVER make a student feel that insignificant; that small.

When teaching or tutoring, I never make a student feel like that when they get a concept or idea wrong. I'll go over where they got off track and reteach it again until the light comes on and they've got it!

I plan to ask my students for their input on this project. It's to get their buy-in on something that will hopefully inspire a modern love for science.

So, in this logo project, we all get to have the last laugh!-)

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