“Just have fun and get your hands dirty,” said Molly Lewis, the former 6th-grade science teacher who now teaches ceramics. This quote embodies Molly’s approach to teaching one of her favorite hobbies, ceramics. Molly wants to teach students her love of the subject and helpful skills to improve their pottery, but Molly Lewis is much more than a science teacher turned to the arts. Most of us know Molly as the teacher who taught us that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, but now she is a teacher who inspires artistic creativity in the ceramics room. Not only is she loved by students and her fellow faculty, but she is genuine in her excitement about helping others truly learn and have fun in her new subject: ceramics. Beyond the world of Rowland Hall, she is an avid hiker and loves her mountains and her dogs as much as her clay. Her transition from science to ceramics is simply a transition to have more time to do what she loves beyond the classroom as well as keep teaching students by sharing another one of her passions. Molly Lewis’s ceramics class is all about having fun, and in life as well as ceramics that always involves getting your hands dirty in the process.
Molly Lewis first joined the staff at Rowland Hall 25 years ago and has been a 6th-grade science teacher up until 2022. While in her 6th-grade science classroom, Molly taught kids about chemical properties, the anatomy of a cell, and photosynthesis through fun games and projects; activities were always hands on, like building a hot air balloon to demonstrate how heat rises and building a tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows to show the properties of gravity. This hands-on curriculum that guided her science class has transferred into her ceramics curriculum as she always teaches kids through showing, not telling. Abby Downs, a sophomore at Rowland Hall taking trimester 1 ceramics, said great things about Molly Lewis’s hands-on teaching: “Ms. Lewis explains the steps very clearly and sits with you to help you really learn what and how to do things.”
Not only that, but science shows up in ceramics in many ways: “From how to avoid clay exploding to the glaze of a pot, there is a ton of science in pottery,” said Molly. Although her transition has been pretty seamless so far, it has not been all rainbows and butterflies, as Molly said that “it's been challenging to come up with fun projects that also teach useful skills.” And though challenges always come with change and she misses her 6th-grade faculty team, this new transition has been exciting and “a good shift from [her] 25+ years of teaching 6th grade science,” said Molly.
Not only does Molly have a passion for teaching ceramics, but she has been passionate about ceramics itself since she took classes in high school. Teaching pottery is also not a totally new territory for her as around 12 years ago, when teachers taught electives as well as classes, she taught ceramics to middle schoolers. Molly Lewis, owner of four pottery wheels as of right now, is a pro at ceramics though she, being the modest person she is, would never admit that herself. At Rowland Hall, we are blessed with teachers who have love for the subjects they teach. This pattern continues with Molly Lewis as a wide smile always crosses her face when she’s on the wheel teaching her students tricks and techniques about pottery. Molly Lewis “really strives to help each and every individual kid and give them each the time they need to learn difficult skills,” said sophomore Mackenzie White.
Molly Lewis always strives to truly improve students’ skills whether that's in learning the powerhouse of a cell or how to make coils to build a pot.