Mad Scientist


Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about new challenges by Jerri Jerreat.

Jerri Jerreat’s writing, from Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory, also appears in Grist/Fix: Imagine 2200 Climate Fiction, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Onyx PublicationsAlluvian, Solarpunk Creatures, Every Day Fiction, Fictive Dreams, Fiction on the Web, Feminine Collective, Yale Review Online, The New Quarterly, The Penmen Review, Glass & Gardens Solarpunk Winters, Glass & Gardens Solarpunk Summers and others. She directs Youth Imagine the Future, a festival which encourages youth to look at solutions around the world and to write solarpunk to inspire others.

‘Mad Scientist’ follows a new teacher working towards understanding her student’s needs.



I get Math and English. History. Even Music. But teaching grade 8 Science needs a PhD. I’m scanning phrases like, ‘Water is critical to life’, ‘Water systems influence climate’, and ‘managed sustainably.’ Why don’t I have a cat to hug at times like this? I clearly need one. Maybe I should see my friends more. Or try dating. But who has time?

A sample issue jumps out at me:

(c) The Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities addresses drinking water concerns. Various government agencies and interest groups have different perspectives.

Oh, I bet there are different perspectives, I think. Hah. I search for a Government of Canada link and choose: ‘Ending long-term drinking water advisories.’ Have to start somewhere.

After a few minutes, I glance back at the Science curriculum. ‘Watershed as a geographic unit’, ‘human and natural actions affecting the water table… lawn watering, extraction by bottled water industry, climate change, polar ice caps.’

I think, This stuff is big. Very big. I shudder.

How am I going to teach all this as a four-month substitute?

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