Raise Your Right Hand

Joe Thompson (ref: post October 21, 2015), one of the most loved and respected supervisors at the District Office, was visiting our school. I chatted with him between classes and invited him to stop by my classroom. He said that he would do so after his meeting.

My next class was Chemistry 11. I told my students that we would be having a visitor and that I wanted to impress him.

This is what I ask you to do. After our guest arrives I am going to ask who can answer a general question about stoichiometry. I want everyone to put their hand up. If you are confident you can answer the question, put your right hand up. If you are unsure, put your left hand up, but everyone is to raise their hand.” We practiced a few times.

Midway through class Joe arrived. He sat at the back of the room. I welcomed him and continued my lesson. After a few minutes I walked up to the board.

Now class, before I introduce the next topic I have a question for you. Imagine you have 1.50 litres of a saturated hydrocarbon containing 3 carbon atoms. If it is ignited with sufficient oxygen at STP and you are able to contain all of the products, how many of you are confident you could calculate the number of moles of carbon dioxide produced to 3 significant digits?”

Every student put their hand up. Some were left, some were right, but all put their hands up.

OK then, it looks like we nailed that outcome. Let’s move on to a new topic.”

After class, Joe told me how impressed he was with the learning going on in my course. I confessed about the prank.

He laugh that great laugh of his.

I miss that laugh.

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2 thoughts on “Raise Your Right Hand

    1. Back in the days of Joe and Doug, schools knew the D.O. was working for them. Now the message from the D.O. is, you’re working for us. And that’s a big shift.
      I run into Doug from time to time and it reminds me of how things COULD be in education. Joe represented all that was good about our craft.


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