Reflections of a Teach Better Ambassador

Holly StuartBlog, Connect Better, Lead Better, Manage Better

TL;DR:

  • Light waves can either be transmitted, absorbed, refracted, and/or reflected depending on the material it encounters.
  • An educator’s voice can shine, be stifled, be amplified, and can help to support others.
  • Teach Better Ambassador applications open on November 1, 2022. Are you ready to amplify your voice and help others find theirs?

Teach Better Team

On Friday, October 14, 2022, after a full day of learning, connecting, and uplifting by so many amazing educators, I sat down to listen to Dave Schmittou’s keynote speech. His words moved me. The Teach Better Team is filled with green dots that have helped me overcome obstacles that I faced in the classroom. But, I want to challenge those of you who are part of the Teach Better Family to take it one step further and consider becoming a Teach Better Ambassador. I will explain what I mean by using the science of light waves. Would you expect any less from the #ScienceBetter blogger?

I want to challenge those of you who are part of the Teach Better Family to take it one step further and consider becoming a Teach Better Ambassador. Click To Tweet

Light Wave Transmission

Light travels in waves. In a vacuum, light travels at a speed of 3X108 m/s and will continue to move at the same speed in the same direction, forever—while it is in a vacuum. Transmission is ight moving from one place to another. The image below shows a green laser traveling through the air in a straight line illustrating this concept.

Green laser striking a white board

Figure 1: A green laser transmitting through the air and striking a whiteboard.

I think many can relate to this. You find your routine, go through the motions, and complete tasks without even thinking. As a teacher, this happens when you pull out the same lesson plan you have done for years. It is your go-to, it worked in the past, you have the supplies ready to go, and you know exactly what you are going to say.

Light Wave Transmission Through Transparent Objects

When light comes in contact with a transparent object, it will still continue to pass right through. Transmission continues to happen because nothing is blocking the path of the light wave. The images below show a clear transparent object followed by a green laser passing through it.

Clear jar in front of a white board

Figure 2a: A clear jar filled with a clear liquid.

A clear jar with a green laser shining through it and hitting a white board

Figure 2b: A green laser transmitting through a clear jar filled with a clear liquid and striking a whiteboard.

These clear transparent objects might correspond to the predicted sticking points that you know your students will face and the questions that students will ask (because they come up year after year). Nothing that happens does anything to disrupt the flow of the lesson. You can still clearly see where you are going.

Lightwave Absorption Through Colored Filters

When light comes into contact with an object of a different color, it is absorbed or blocked by the filter. The light perceives the object as opaque and will not transmit through. The image below shows a glass jar filled with a red liquid followed by an image of a green laser hitting the red jar, being absorbed, and not transmitting through. Only the jar of red liquid is seen on the whiteboard behind it. The green laser is completely blocked.

Jar filled with a red liquid in front of a white board

Figure 3a: A jar filled with red liquid.

A jar filled with red liquid being struck by a green laser

Figure 3b: A jar of red liquid being struck by a green laser that is absorbed by the red liquid. The green laser does not transmit through the red liquid to the whiteboard.

During my fourth year teaching 8th-grade science, I hit a wall. I could not reach my students and didn’t know where to turn for help. There was no one around me that shared my philosophies on best practices. I felt like I was alone and my light, my passion for teaching science, diminished.

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Light Wave Transmission Through Colored Filters

When light comes in contact with a transparent object of the same color as the light, it will still allow the light to transmit through without any interference. The image below shows a glass jar filled with a green liquid followed by a green laser passing through the green liquid. The whiteboard behind lit up with green light.

A jar filled with green liquid in front of a white board

Figure 4a: A jar filled with green liquid.

Figure 4b: A jar of green liquid being struck by a green laser. The green laser transmits through the green liquid to the whiteboard.

Then, a colleague told me about the Teach Better Team, recommended that I follow them on Facebook, and gave me a little book called, “Teach Better.” A flip switched on in my brain! There was a strategy to use in my classroom to reach all of my students (The Grid Method). I found a PLN of like-minded educators who didn’t just think outside the box, but acted outside the box when it came to student relationships, instruction, assessments, and so much more. I found support, encouragement, and a family within the Teach Better Team. My light turned back on and my passion for science education returned.

I personally experienced the benefits of having a network of educators I could count on to provide guidance and advice, challenge me, and push my thinking. This confidence boost prompted me to become a district mentor teacher, host interns in my classroom, and become a state peer evaluator. My district even selected me to serve as a master teacher to showcase best practices in classroom instruction. I never thought I could achieve these opportunities!

Lightwave Refraction, Reflection, and Transmission

When light waves enter certain materials, the waves will refract and reflect, making it appear as if there are more light waves exiting the material than what entered. The image below shows a glass jar filled with a green liquid that has green glitter swirling around it followed by a green laser passing through the green liquid and glitter. The whiteboard behind it shows many points of green light that have exited the glass jar.

A jar filled with green liquid and green glitter

Figure 5a: A jar filled with green liquid and green glitter.

A jar with green liquid and green glitter being struck by a laser that transmits through to strike a white board

Figure 5b: A jar of green liquid and green glitter being struck by a green laser. The green laser transmits, reflects, and refracts through the green liquid and glitter to produce many points of light on the whiteboard.

I want to be someone who helps others keep their light on and their passion for education strong. I became a Teach Better Ambassador in 2021, and a Teach Better Mentor Ambassador in 2022. In these roles, I am able to help other educators around the world find and amplify their light. Being a Teach Better Ambassador is the green glitter that can help others to gain the confidence to then share their wisdom with others.

I hope that when applications open for the next round of Teach Better Ambassadors on November 1, 2022, you will consider taking the chance to let your light not only shine, but refract, reflect, grow bright, and multiply!

Apply here to become an Ambassador!

A prism being struck by a green laser

Figure 6: A prism being struck by a green laser and showing multiple green waves exiting the prism.


About Holly Stuart

Holly Stuart is the Education Specialist for Foldscope Instruments and former 8th grade science and design teacher in South Carolina. Her passions include finding new and innovative ways to provide access to scientific tools to students everywhere because she knows that when students have access to the wonders of science, they can discover new scientific concepts through inquiry, and learn science by doing science.

In addition to her out-of-the-box approach to teaching science, Holly successfully implemented The Grid Method into her teaching practice and is currently a Teach Better Team Mentor Ambassador.

Holly is married to her high school sweetheart and is a mother to three children. When not working, she enjoys traveling and being outside with her family. Some of their favorite outdoor activities include hiking, running, biking, and gardening. (Holly often brings her telescope, binoculars, and microscopes with her on hikes!) Her indoor hobbies include reading, writing, and learning more about sketchnoting and drawing.