2000 James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching
An Inspiration to Teach
A teacher’s true legacy is to inspire others into action. For students, this action is to learn and to even take responsibility for their education. For colleagues, it is to continue teaching with enthusiasm and dedication. Barbara Sitzman’s dedicated commitment to both her students and colleagues is evident in the way she teaches and supports her colleagues.
In the classroom, Barbara encourages her students to participate and actively learn the lessons of the day. She commands their respect, and yet is jovial in her one-on-one interaction. Today’s lesson on writing chemical reactions is presented with just a few, but effective examples that are demonstrated on an overhead projector. The students who help to mix the reactants wait to carefully observe the evidence of a reaction. The rest of the class eagerly shares their observations. This ability to excite her students is manifested, for example, in a former student’s Ph.D. dissertation dedication to her. The legacy of a long remembered gift is a mark of an inspiring teacher.
After school, Barbara leads by example to encourage her colleagues to do the same. She draws upon her diverse educational background to lead others in learning new ways to teach. Barbara has presented at many ACS, NSTA and CSTA conferences. She is also a leader in the National ACS sponsored ChemCom workshops and actively participates in the local High School ACS chemistry exam. At the recent national ACS meeting in Anaheim, Barbara spearheaded the move to give high school teachers greater accessibility to the mainstream of the meeting by moving the high school teacher sessions in with the all of the others instead of being isolated away from the convention center. She also championed the move to create several concurrent sessions to give attending teachers greater variety to learn. Such leadership inspires her colleagues to continue their work with fresh ideas and renewed inspiration.
We should all be motivated by Barbara’s example. Whether it’s in a classroom or a lab, we can all be inspired to teach and lead with enthusiasm. Leaving her classroom I think to myself, “Gee, I miss teaching!”
Chair, Educational Affairs Committee