Saturday, April 27, 2013

Teaching is a Family Tradition

Originally published in the April 27 edition of the Tempe Republic.

If an apple falls close to the tree, would Isaac Newton be proud? In the case of Brittany and Jim Weser, the answer is yes!

Brittany Weser is a first year high school biology teacher. Her father, Jim Weser, is in his ninth year of teaching middle school science.

Thanks to Rio Salado College’s Post Baccalaureate teacher education program, both were able to channel their passions for teaching into rewarding careers.

“I was able to complete the program in a timely manner, and the ability to take a wide variety of courses throughout the year was a definite strength of the Rio Salado program,” said Jim Weser.

Originally, Jim worked in the golf industry. After he was laid off, he decided to pursue a new career.

“One of the things I enjoyed most about golf was being a golf instructor,” said Jim. The transition to teacher seemed a natural fit.

“It is very rewarding to see students have those “AHA!” moments in their learning,” Jim said. “I have found that it is very important to have a positive and inviting class environment so that students can be the most open to learning.”

Brittany Weser always wanted to do something involving science and youth, and began pursuing a biochemistry degree with the intent of a career in pediatric medicine.

“I soon realized that a career in medicine was focused most on the science,” Brittany said. “To me, the greatest value and importance rested in the interaction with children because that is what I am passionate about.”

After researching her educational options, Brittany chose Rio Salado College’s teacher education program.

“I saw my dad go through the program and he enjoyed it,” said Brittany. “For me, I really appreciated Rio Salado because it is online and convenient for my schedule. Also, the price of tuition is fair and more affordable than other credentialing programs.”

Both Wesers chose to teach science, recognizing the importance of today’s youth receiving a quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

“STEM is the future,” said Brittany. “If we want to prepare our students to have promising careers as well as further the progress of humanity, then STEM education must be emphasized.”

Jim Weser agreed.

“Young people today are not looking at math and science careers as much as they did in the past, and we need to reverse that trend,” said Jim. “STEM programs not only help give young people the skills to successfully enter those career paths, they also help the U.S. maintain its position as the world’s leading innovator.”

For Brittany, who graduates from Rio Salado in December, following her father down the teaching career path is the best reward of all.

“Being a positive influence on the lives of my students is such a blessing,” Brittany said. “I love to see them grow as human beings. Your students really do look up to you, so it’s awesome to be able to make a difference.”