Time Hop: Teaching on a Tall Ship in 2015

If you read my previous post about teaching interviews or if you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I have some non-conventional teaching experience. Today’s post is something that I wrote for a personal blog almost four years ago, when I taught Chemistry and Biology on a tall ship while sailing around the world. Enjoy 🙂

I’m writing this as I proctor my first exams. My students are diligently attacking AP Chemistry for two hours, somehow entirely focused on their laminated periodic tables and not distracted by the rolling blue sea that’s covering the portholes at regular intervals. The Atlantic water is clear and vibrant but they’re ignoring it while calculating how many water molecules are in one drop. Life is stranger than it has ever been before.

It’s nearing the end of October, and we’ve been travelling for just over two months. In that short amount of time we have visited Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Morocco, Canary Islands, and Cabo Verde. Somehow, we’ve still gotten a good chunk of school in. The packed itinerary and packed day-to-day life means that some of my posts are going to have to be retroactive – two months of settling in to a life that is also 24/7 work has not made it easy to find time to myself.

Photos from (left to right): Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Morocco, Las Palmas, Cape Verde, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Photos from (left to right): Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Morocco, Las Palmas, Cape Verde, and Trinidad and Tobago.

We are currently in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, heading towards Trinidad and Tobago. It’s warm and sticky, and I am actually getting kinda tanned from regular hours in the sun. This is our longest sail yet – 20 days – which means 20 days straight of school and very little contact from the outside world. It’s an interesting experience for someone who has grown up the way most of us have.

A highlight of this sail for me has been watching Back to the Future knowing that the day Marty travels to in 2015 is likely being talked about quite a bit on land. For us, somewhere in the middle of the ocean, the hover boards and hydrated pizza seem like an even more distant possibility than they were two months ago. Sometimes I feel like I’ve travelled back in time…I live in a tall ship that has been preserved as best as possible to its 1927 form. It’s basically a functional museum. As a kid, I realllllly wanted a hover board. As a (debatable) grown up I’m certainly floating my way around, just not how I’d imagined it would be.