AACT Member Spotlight: Kristen Drury

By AACT on October 30, 2019

Kristen DruryEvery month AACT will spotlight a passionate member who is dedicated to enhancing chemistry inside and outside the classroom. This month we spotlight Kristen Drury from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, NY.

Kristen has been teaching chemistry (and occasionally forensics) for 14 years and currently teaches Advanced Placement and Honors Chemistry at William Floyd High School in New York. Additionally, she teaches the Methods in Teaching II for the educator preparation program at Stony Brook University. Kristen also reads the AP Chemistry Exam and has started a yoga club at her high school.

Share a story from your past that led to your choosing your field of work.

I majored in chemistry in college aspiring to become a dentist. The classes were rigorous, so many of my peers and I would study together. A few of my peers and my advisor mentioned that I was very good at explaining concepts and suggested education as a minor. I had truly never even thought of the option until that moment. As soon as I left my first teaching class I was hooked!

How do you monitor the progress of your students? How do you ensure underperformers excel?

I am constantly assessing my students’ progress with probing questions, discussions in small teams, and free writes. I show my students that it is not necessarily the grade they earn, but the work they put into the class that impresses me. I try to engage with each student's interests and find a way to show that I care about their lives. I want my students to feel comfortable with asking questions and feel safe enough to make mistakes. We joke and laugh in class often to foster positivity and fun to challenging topics.

What you do to remain current and bring the latest science into the classroom?

I subscribe to many science and education magazines, organizations, and webinars. My favorite student-level magazine is ChemMatters because it explains chemistry topics within the real world that are engaging for students.

What fuels your passion for science and teaching?

I love connecting what we teach to the student’s daily lives. When students’ eyes light up because they had a “light bulb” moment in class, or when they bring in jokes and items to show me the chemistry they found around them, I get so excited. But I am also passionate about learning new techniques to aid instruction such as POGIL, Argument Driven Inquiry, and other inquiry techniques. Spicing up the way we deliver information makes it more engaging for the students, and more enjoyable for the teacher because no lessons is ever the same!

In three words, what would your students say they learned from you?

Chemistry is EVERYWHERE!