Tomas Roman loves teaching science because it allows him to be a kid again.
Roman, a sixth grade science teacher at Bowling Green Middle School, was one of three teachers receiving a Bowling Green Kiwanis Club Inspirational Teachers of the Year award. Bill Ferguson and Beth Vaughn were honored in February.
Roman has taught science in Bowling Green for 18 years and told Kiwanis members at their meeting Thursday that he is now getting children of former students.
“I try to make science fun for kids,” he said. “I get to be a 12-year-old every day.”
He said that he picked science because he had a lot of good science teachers growing up.
“This is great. It feels good,” Roman said about the award.
The Bowling Green State University graduate said he tells dad jokes all the time and if students laugh, he knows they’re listening.
While his co-workers make teaching fun, “being a teacher is hard.”
He asked for audience participation in a lab experiment he has given his students.
“I’m going to treat you like you’re 12 years old because it’s going to make me feel better,” Roman said.
He said he assesses his students on their knowledge before a lesson plan, gets immediate feedback and assesses them again after teaching the lesson.
Roman showed some slides of previous before and after assessments.
“As a teacher, that is pretty good,” he said about one activity where 94% got the answer correct.
Roman said he tries to connect science to real life and gave an example of asking kids how to make macaroni and cheese. They responded by saying boiling pasta.
“What temperature is that,” he asked, and their response is they don’t know, it’s boiling.
“This is what science is like for us,” he said. “Getting the kids to think but not telling them the answer.
“From there, we start learning.”
Roman also gave a demonstration of how he teaches his classes to read a graph.
“Our goal is to read a distance versus time graph,” he said.
Kiwanis member Eric Willman pointed out middle school is a tough age and asked if Roman has seen a major change in the amount of baggage kids are bringing to school with the pandemic, versus when he started.
“I think I’m OK because I know the content really well so I can focus on helping what they’re bringing in,” Roman said. “Newer teachers are struggling. They’re trying to learn how to teach at the same time they’re dealing with all the stuff (kids) are bringing in.”
He added that teaching online during the pandemic was like being a circus.
“You’re trying your best,” he said.
“We’re fortunate to have so many great educators at the middle school,” said Principal Eric Radabaugh. “They really are a team. They support each other, they respect each other, and they work so well together. So, we’re honored to have two selected from the middle school.”