ALEXANDRA VAN DORSTEN, Science Department
Q: What do you teach here at Wakefield High School?
A: Right now, I’m teaching biology, honors biology and honors marine ecology, but I’ve also taught physical science.
Q: What made you decide to teach science?
A: I actually didn’t [know] that I wanted to be a teacher until I finished my [undergraduate degree]. I [wanted] something that would allow me to use my degree and to work with teenagers. Teaching was that. I love teaching specifically science, because [most] high school students don’t [know] that science is not just facts. Science itself is actually really creative and takes critical thinking.
Q: How has virtual learning impacted your job?
A: There’s so much extra thinking about how to put [assignments] in a format where everyone can access it instead of just handing out a piece of paper. I also don’t like that I don’t get to see my students in person and create relationships, which is the best part of teaching.
Q: Tell me about your educational background.
A: I went to [the University of North Carolina] Asheville for my bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and two minors in neuroscience and psychology. Then I went to [North Carolina] State [University] to get my masters in teaching with a concentration in science education.
Q: What brought you to Wakefield?
A: I was supposed to be in Ghana [right now], teaching middle school science, but because of COVID that didn’t work out. I was looking for another job and found one [at Wakefield].
Q: What do you like most about Wakefield so far?
A: I just love how supportive the science department is. They’re really great with sharing resources and collaborating. It’s really obvious that they want their students to succeed.
Q: What do you like to do outside of school?
A: Outside of school I like to dance, specifically Contra, Latin, and Swing. [I also like to] travel, hike, run and spend time with friends and family.
Q: What is your advice for students taking your class(es)?
A: [Firstly], if you don’t understand something, ask. I want you to understand the content, but I don’t know if you don’t understand, unless you let me know. Secondly, do the work you’re assigned. I don’t assign an excessive amount of work so what I do assign is necessary for you to do well in the class. Not just to get the grade, but to learn the material.