Interview conducted by Hannah Johnson, contributing writer

Photo courtesy of Lisa Cole

Q: What made you decide to teach?
A: I have always loved learning. In the second grade, I fell in love with my teacher and everything she did. She gave me the leftover worksheets from the class and I would gather my neighborhood friends to play school. I was the teacher, of course! I believe it is a God-given gift, and I love what I do.

Q: Why did you decide to teach Environmental
Biology?
A: My degree is in biology and health. I began teaching biology labs here at TJC as an adjunct. When I decided to apply for full time, the environmental biology position was open, so I applied and was hired.

Q: How long have you been a teacher?
A: This is my 20th year as a teacher.

Q: Have you taught other subjects besides
environmental biology? If so, what subjects?
A: I began my teaching career as a public school teacher. I have taught biology, health, anatomy and physiology, and Earth science. Here at TJC I currently teach Intro Anatomy and Physiology as an adjunct. I have also taught majors and non-majors biology as an adjunct.

Q: Did you ever consider a different career path?
A: Yes. I took the entrance test for nursing and scored well, but I couldn’t go through with the plan because I determined that I could never give shots. I still get a bit woozy when confronted with a needle of any kind. I also worked for NASA Johnson Space Center as an education manager for a program called Texas Aerospace Scholars. While I enjoyed the position and the students, it just wasn’t the same as teaching on a regular basis.

Q: What has been your most memorable experience as a teacher?
A: A group of my biology students designed an experiment to be tested in the anti-gravity airplane at NASA Johnson Space Center and it was accepted. We spent seven days at Johnson space center and conducted the experiment in zero gravity conditions. It was definitely a highlight in my career as a teacher.

Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?
A: The students. Definitely the students. I have been very blessed to know so many and have an opportunity to share a small portion of their journey in life and hopefully deposit knowledge they will use at some point.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching environmental biology?
A: I enjoy sharing my love of nature and the basic workings of our environment with my students. I enjoy seeing them experience the world around them, and I hope they will carry this knowledge with them into their adult lives.

Q: How does it make you feel when a student begins to understand a subject that they didn’t previously understand?
A: That is the true satisfaction in the job that I do. If they walk away with a little more knowledge and a confidence that they are capable of learning whatever is put in front of them, then I feel successful as an educator.

Q: Is anyone else in your family a teacher?
A: My late husband was a teacher and my father-in-law was a teacher and principal. One of my sons is working on being a teacher right now. My brother and sister-in-law are teachers, as well as their daughter and son-in-law. I also have several cousins who are teachers. When my nephew was small he asked his parents, “Do I have to be a teacher?!”

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