Lightning Bolt Genetics—Inspired By a Teacher

Like most editors, I didn’t get where I am without the support of many teachers along the way. While I’ve been lucky to have lots of teachers worth bragging about, one in particular stands out in my mind as the teacher who inspired a Lerner series.

Mrs. L. was my tenth-grade biology teacher. She had a passion for her subject and a knack for making it accessible, but that wasn’t the half of it. Here are just a handful of the awesome things she did:

• At the semester’s start, she asked us to draw a scientist. We giggled but got on with it, and then she asked: How many had drawn a white male? Everyone in this ethnically diverse class made up of an equal number of boys and girls raised their hands. She told us that’s how most of society still saw scientists—and that, indeed, most scientists were white males—but that there was no reason a woman or a person of color couldn’t excel at science too. Until then, I don’t think I saw science as something that was for me.

• She stressed that every one of her students starts out with an A. All they had to do to keep it was turn in their work, take ample notes, and study those notes before a test. What a wonderful way of encouraging students from the get-go. Who doesn’t feel better starting out the school year with the sense that they’re doing well?

• She had a love—and I mean a LOVE—for genetics. She showed us that genetics was personal. After all, it makes you who you are! She gave us handouts to fill out tracking which genetic traits we had. As someone who has always adored self-tests, I thought this was a blast. Suddenly school was as fun as taking one of those “Who Are You?” quizzes online.

I never forgot Mrs. L’s lessons. Her class spurred a lifelong interest in genetics in me. When we were looking for new science ideas to try out in our Lightning Bolt Books brand, genetics sprang to mind for me right away. So when you see the following books on our website or in our catalog, just know you have Mrs. L. to thank!

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