Concerning actions ACS members can take to further science education in general and chemistry education below the college level in particular (C&EN, Aug. 19, page 2): When I retired in 2004, one of my daughters-in-law told me that I must sign up as a substitute teacher. She teaches English in one of Maryland’s rural counties and is troubled by the rare times she has to take time off for illness or out-of-classroom assignments. It is apparently common for high school teachers to worry about the caliber of substitute teachers who cover for them.
I took her advice to heart and contacted the Montgomery County, Md., school administration. They were almost desperate for substitute teachers, and anybody who could be cleared by the county police was given a four-hour training session and put on a list of available substitutes. The school system has a computer-run assignment program, such that a teacher who needs a substitute enters a website and generates a job number and a computer-based search. I signed up to substitute teach only for physics, chemistry, and higher mathematics in the three high schools I can get to in less than 20 minutes. I soon achieved a good reputation in those schools, and the science and math teachers there would telephone me directly if they planned to be away. The computer program also has a priority function, which put me as first to be called.
Montgomery County pays me $16.63 per hour as a substitute teacher, so a few days a month teaching barely meets restaurant bills for me and my wife, but she appreciates having the days free of my being around the house.
Retired ACS members who want to further elementary and secondary science education can do so easily and with great effect by substitute teaching in their local school systems.
Jacques ReadI don't really think this is a viable employment strategy for out-of-work scientists (surely just 1 or 2 unemployed scientists could cover a district's science substituting needs.) That said, it is an option that isn't talked about much.