Q&A: Mr. Smith


Kendal Smith, Science, is all smiles while talking to his AP students. Smith taught Honors and AP Chemistry at Lake Central and could speak German.

Emily Lisac, Author

Q:  What subject do you teach?

A:  [I teach] honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry.

Q:  How long have you been teaching?

A: I think this is my sixteenth year.

Q:  Have you always worked at Lake Central?

A:  No. I’ve been in other industries and done other occupations.

Q:  Can you explain your style of teaching aka iChem?

A:  The way I teach the Honors Chemistry is that it is more of an individual pace class that the students can decide when, where, and what to do. All of the materials are available online. Then I just set the due dates for quizzes and tests. It’s up to the students to decide if in class they want to work on the worksheets or watch the lectures and what they are going to do at home versus what they are going to do at school. It’s in their hands. As long as they get the quizzes done on time and the tests done on time.

Q:  Do you believe that students can gain benefits from taking a class like this?

A:  Sure. One, it’s preparing them for college because the colleges are moving before this type of model. Two, it gives them more control and I think it teaches them more responsibility. Then I think there is certainly an opportunity to ask for help more privately. They don’t have to ask questions in front of the entire group. They can wait until I come around and ask me a question more individually.

Q:  Do you think iChem could be for everyone and why?

A:  Some people say you can’t do that with the lower level. I’m not convinced of that. I think that one of the subtleties of the iChem approach is that a student has more control. We might be surprised of how well non-college-prep kids may take to a class where they have more control over when, where, and what they are learning. I’m not saying it would be easy, but it might be a very good approach for regular chemistry.