Science teachers share evolving career aspirations

Many people went to college wanting to be something else but changed what they wanted to be and ended up being something else, including teachers. 

“At the end of high school and the beginning of college, I wanted to go into neurology.  My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, so we were in and out of the hospital, and I was really interested in how the brain controls our body, and I really loved science,”  physics teacher Autumn Weaver said.  “When I got into college and took organic chemistry, I cried a lot, so I wanted to switch my major, and I loved science but didn’t know what to do with it, so someone recommended me to become a science teacher, and I took an entry level education course and loved it.”  

Weaver said she knows she’s made the right choice.  “I don’t regret becoming a science teacher, but I do regret not pursuing a medical degree. Right now if I could change my job to be whatever I want, I would like to be an ultrasound technician because it really interests me.

Another teacher also went through a similar experience. 

Environmental science teacher Jason Lang’s career has also evolved. “Before high school I wanted to be a farmer just like my dad and my family, but when I got to high school, I wanted to become a chemistry major. I wanted to go into pharmacy. During college I changed from a chem major to a history major very briefly, and when I transferred to UNI, I transferred to an education major. I don’t know why I transferred to UNI. What I did know when I transferred to UNI was that I needed to start new, and I had a great high school experience, so I took an education class at UNI, and after my first field experience and working with students I knew that teaching was something I could do,” Lang said. “I always wished that I could go back on that pharmacy track, but organic chemistry stopped me and my tracks.”

Lang said there are some other changes he wouldn’t mind seeing. “I would change to a year round school model that also built in much more planning and reflecting and grading time for teachers.  I want time to really focus on being the best teacher possible and teaching in the best way possible, so I can teach more and also to relax and plan more, so I have a break every now and then for students giving teachers time to prepare.”

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