Spanning the globe and encompassing 20 time zones, PolarTREC does it again! The scientists in Kamchatka are up for a 5 AM Saturday morning live event. I lived with these folks and they are not morning people. So, the fact that they were full of energy and ready to go was impressive. Janet and Kristin are at work for a 9 AM Friday morning live event coordination. The Jefferson Township Middle School is ready for a 1 PM Friday afternoon live event. With a fair amount of effort and coordination from the teachers here at my school, I am pleased to have over 700 students taking part in this event.
I have locked myself in a small office with a phone and computer and no distractions. I spent the better part of the day having the jitters to the point that I lost the ability to speak in complete coherent sentences. No amount of self-convincing would allow me to believe that I was not nervous. After all, falling on your face when no one is watching is difficult enough, but to think about a public face plant was too much to deal with.
The moment I called in and heard the friendly and familiar voices of Janet, Kristin and Greg I felt my feet get under me and I knew it would be okay. The nerves showed themselves a few times as I started speaking to the mental image of my audience that I kept flashing to in my mind, but I managed to get through the stories I wanted to share. The kids had some very good questions for us to answer, which is great and helped us all share some highlights of our expedition. I felt the event had gone well and I hoped others had thought so as well.
Today my colleagues took time to stop and tell me that the kids had told them they thought it was cool – the ultimate compliment from a middle schooler. Students asked me questions in the hallway that they had thought of after the event was over. Teachers came to tell me that I had done a good job. It was truly a good feeling to know that kids and colleagues alike were thinking about the science of our expedition even after the event was over. As a teacher, it is what makes our work worth the effort – to leave a lasting impression on others. I hope that telling the story allows people to think about what is possible in the extreme realms of science, but for me telling the story is a like sharing the most amazing story I have ever had to the opportunity to tell. I’m glad I had such a fantastic audience.