“I’ve been teaching high school science at Sage Academy Charter School in Brooklyn Park, MN, for three years, and I absolutely love it,” Heidi Schatz (B.S. Biology) says. More than 80 percent of students at the school receive free or reduced lunches. “Most of my students don't see college as an option, let alone consider going to college to study science,” she says.
Schatz, who will complete her master’s in education from Augsburg College this fall and has already received a teaching license for secondary science education, says, “the first time I heard the phrase, ‘Those who can't, teach,’ I wanted to scream. Fortunately, that phrase led to my personal motto, ‘Those who can, teach.’
“Teaching takes patience and compassion as well as knowledge,” she says. “Anyone can learn, but it’s quite a feat to take information and explain it a thousand different ways until something ‘clicks’ in the mind of a teenager. Whether I'm writing monohybrid genetics problems about a preference for Hot Cheetos or taking my students to the Wildlife Science Center to howl with wolves, I'm constantly trying to keep them interested.”
When asked about short-term goals, Schatz says, “I’m taking eight students to Costa Rica next spring to study rainforest ecology, so I hope that goes as planned.” Long term, she hopes to return to school for a master’s degree in biology, probably with a focus in ecology. “Teaching science has helped me figure out the areas I'm most passionate about, and I've developed a healthy obsession with wolves from using them as an evolutionary and keystone species example in my classes,” she says.