Today I am donning my lab coat vs. my painters overalls. Let me explain. A few years ago I decided to take on a part time job to help defray some of my daughter’s college costs. My criteria was that the job had to be flexible so it did not interfere with my decorative painting business and it had to be as much fun as my own business, and of course, it had to pay a lot more than a minimum wage job to make it worth while to even leave the house. After a lengthy search, I did indeed, find the perfect job! I became a "Mad Scientist" for a local Mad Science franchise. What is a "Mad Scientist" you may be asking??? I go into public and private elementary schools, YMCA’s, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc., and conduct one hour science programs for kids ages 6-12. During this hour, the kids do several experiments which are all very fast moving, fun, and educational. There is no down time during this hour. Typically, this is done as an After School Program, so you want to keep the kids attention, keep them entertained, happy and learning something all at the same time. The After School Programs are typically 8 weeks in length, meeting 1x/week. I agree to commit to teach the duration of the program the school has chosen. Each week I pick up a kit at the Mad Science office. The beauty of this is that the kits are 100% complete, with a very explicit instruction manual and all the necessary equipment needed to perform the experiments. Initially, I would do a trial run through w/my kit, so I knew all of the experiments. Now that I have been doing this for so long, I know all of the kits and have my own set of notes for each on my computer. What I absolutely love about this job is that the kids have so much fun and I so do I! Typically during the Summer months, I do not do the Mad Science classes because they are slower and it is usually a busy season for my own work. Last semester I was too busy to be a Mad Scientist, but did keep my name on a sub list in case of emergencies. Since I know all of the kits fairly well by now, I am a good relief teacher should someone need a sub for a class. After being away from my little scientists for most of last semester and this Summer, I am really missing the classroom. I contacted Mad Science and asked them to put me back on the regular schedule for the Fall. I have a favorite school near my home that works out well for me, so my request is in for that school. ;-) Luckily, they always request ME for their Mad Scientist, so I should have no problem returning there in the Fall. In the meantime, I am off today, teaching 2 classes to a summer program. The topic is "Optical Illusions", one of my favorites. The other neat thing about this program is that almost every class gets a project that we work on in class and then they take home. Today my kids will all make Periscopes which they will take away with them!