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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Jeremy Heyman




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    Jeremy Heyman

    Homebound Instruction 101

    (Part II of my previous article)
    In the mid-1990s, my mom was called to teach a fifteen-year-old quadriplegic girl who had become paralyzed in an automobile accident. While also working as a substitute teacher, my mom taught this girl as she recovered at the local rehab center. Little did my mother know that this encounter would be the start of her newfound career as a homebound instructor, teaching students who cannot attend school for some period of time. Ive told my mom she could write a book about all the homebound experiences she has had. She keeps pretty busy these days, however, with homebound instruction during the day and private tutoring after school, so for the time-being this article will suffice.

    It doesnt cost anything to be nice

    I was excited when, for one of my previous articles, the good people at The Hoot enlarged a quote from my mother, It doesnt cost anything to be nice. My parents are visiting Brandeis this weekend, so perhaps this is an appropriate time to tell the story behind the quote, explain my mothers life a bit, and maybe inspire some readers.

    Bobie always “found a way” to succeed

    My mother is a homebound instructor, teaching kids who cannot go to school for some period of time. Her students have ranged from pregnant teens to threats to the community to cancer and other chronic illness patients to stabbing victims and beyond. Four years ago, she was teaching a seventh-grader with bone cancer at the Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, and his hospital roommate was an eighth-grader, also from our school district and also with bone cancer. (The seventh-grader, family friend Jon Houy, is no longer with us. He passed away at 15 in March 2005, succumbing to a disease that had already taken one of his legs but that had not kept him from excelling as a student and wheelchair basketball player.)

    Nonlinear chemi-what?

    Yes, its that time again. Time for another Jeremy Heyman column, and yes, Im going with a Chemistry topic again this time. From past experience Ive learned not to focus on one professor for too long, so no Ozerov or Foxman involved this week. My apologies to the Inorganic Chemists in the audience.

    Chemistry and Brandeis: hitting the double bonus

    Like all writers, I face a certain challenge as I sit to write. First, welcome to my first-ever column in The Hoot, and my first-ever column in, well, anything. Thanks to the Opinions editor and the rest of The Hoot for this opportunity.
    Oh, and in case you were wondering about the article title, I was watching college basketball tonight.

    Nashim issue continued

    In my native Pittsburgh, PNC Banks TV commercials say, Every day is an opportunity to do more. Coming to Brandeis in August 2004, I had a diverse set of friends in my public high school, but I still had a lot to learn. While my friends were of various faiths, it was still a self-selected group of individuals.

    The Nashim issue, and a chemistry story

    I looked at my article and the rest of the Opinions section of last weeks Hoot. What did I find? The other articles were controversial and were written to open up dialogue amongst students regarding such situations as interreligious relations on campus as well as the Nashim Talent Show controversy. Sitting at my laptop to write this article, I have two options. I have a strong opinion regarding the Nashim issue, and I also have a story on Chemistry brewing in my head. The casual reader is now screaming in his or her head, You numbskull! As you read this article, theres a decent shot you would prefer to read something that would get your blood flowing, something to either (1) draw your ire or (2) silently applaud the points I make.

    Not some dry old set of equations

    Let me start out by saying that this is not a standard Hoot article. It is on the Opinions page, but this article is about Chemistry. Not so fast. Dont turn the page just yet. Im not writing a textbook here, people. Nothing too boring or formal, I hope. I love Chemistry, and from the number of Chemistry majors here (20-30 declared majors at any one time at Brandeis), I know that a lot of people arent exactly as excited as I am. Sure, I am happy that 40 Brandeis undergrads have joined my Chemistry Enthusiasts group on Facebook;

    however, Facebook groups dont really do or mean much of anything. Furthermore, I think Chemistry should be delivered to the masses, not only to Chemistry and Biochemistry students.

    Science at Brandeis: the ups and downs

    When I visited colleges two to three years ago, I was not so interested in the campus tours that are so popular for prospective students visiting colleges across the country. I really did not much care what the buildings looked like. Historically designed buildings, innovative building styles, classic architecture blah, blah, blah, blah. Will it affect my college experience that much if there is some intricate design painted on the ceiling or floor of one of the lecture hall buildings or if the buildings form some unique shape? No. Certainly, it is nice to assure that dormitories are not absolute dumps and that the buildings do not look as though three tornadoes have hit them, but beyond that, who cares? Not I. To me, at least, education, be it college, high school, or graduate or professional school, is about the learning, the atmosphere of learning and interactions amongst students and between students and faculty.

    Rankings: Recognizing the best students

    This past spring, Newsweek released its 2005 rankings of American public high schools. My alma mater, Gateway Senior HS, did not crack Newsweek.coms list of the top 1,042 public schools. While criticizing ones own school district may be tempting, I question the ranking system rather than my schools academics.