"Stop playing with my normal cell and put it back in the prop box!"
(The "normal cell" in question being the blue ball from the photo below...the orange ball was my cancer cell.)
Gave my talk on new cancer therapies to the eighth graders today, all three classes of them. I was teaching pretty much the whole time from 10:30-1:30, and I now have a new respect for middle school teachers. How in the world do you present the same material to every one of your classes multiple times a day, every day, year in and year out? I've certainly given talks before, but never the same talk three times in a row on one day.
My biggest concern was the level at which I was speaking. It's tough to target that age group in science: oversimplifications bore and insult them, but it's hard to get much below the 30,000 foot mark in Biology without things getting grad-school level pretty quickly. I did the best I could with that, even bouncing some of my slides off Thing One ahead of time as a gauge. He's only in sixth grade, but he's a bright, science-focused sixth grader...figured if he understood what I was saying, the older kids would. As it happened, the kids seemed to be able to follow the talk and the teacher was happy with it...guess the acid test will be whether he invites me back to give it again next year! We'll see. At the very least, I'm glad to have it over with for the time being...I've been stressing about that for a good two weeks now.
In other news, the most recent sign that the apocalypse is nigh came from Thing One, who bounded off the school bus and informed me cheerfully that the next middle school dance will be in December and that formal clothing is required. He wants to go. (!) And is planning to wear dress pants, dress shoes, a nice shirt, and A TIE. (!!) This from the kid who fusses about wearing a collared shirt to church!