Honoring the Teachers with Lara, CJ, and Lisa

I know you have thanked a teacher. I know you have remembered your best teacher. But when have you honored a teacher? We honored our teachers last Thursday with a very nice reception at Rice University.

Every morning teachers greet classrooms of squirmy children. In Houston Independent School District, HISD, they know the little bellies are full, at least if their parents got them to school on time. Who these children are takes time to learn. Some children are enduring crises at home. Others are challenged by in-class interactions. A sympathetic teacher with access to resources can help with these issues, but that is not her main job. Her main job is to teach, to help the children learn. The trick is to bring learning to the children in such an entrancing, gripping way that other problems are forgotten.

What better subject for this than science? The sad truth is that a lot of teachers, particularly those teaching five to ten year olds, are not particularly experienced in science, and wouldn’t know how to put together a great science program, even if they had the time to do so. It is true that there is no shortage of books, websites, and companies that offer science materials in all areas. But how does a teacher know what is right for her classroom? What will help his students pass the tests that they must pass and are judged by? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could help teachers with these decisions, and offer them materials, information, activities, and friends in the kind of learning environment we hope they can provide in their classrooms?

That is just what Rice University’s School Science and Technology program does, out at Treasure Forest Elementary School, with teachers from many districts. Lara, CJ, Lisa and their team work hard all year with the teachers, helping them learn, and giving them the materials to make science their student’s favorite subject. I’ve very much enjoyed working with this group for the last several years, and especially my visits to Lara’s classroom to answer questions about evolution. I’ll miss this group in St. Louis, and hope to find a way to get involved with teachers and students!


Lara Arch, expertly guides the teachers that come to learn after their school day.


C. J. Thompson, lead teacher in the daytime program, in the suit, with a teacher.


Lisa Webber in a rare moment of repose outside the classroom.


Susan Rogers, right, working with the teachers, was my children’s wonderful 4th grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary.


Some of our leaders, funders, directors.






About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Biology, Rice University. Bookmark the permalink.

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