Physics teacher embraces new experiences

Julie Xiong, Cartoonist

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Physics consists of the study of matter, any physical substance occupying space, and its relation to motion, energy and force. Conceptual physics suggests physics but without the complex mathematical elements.  Recently hired conceptual physics teacher, Christopher Yauch, faces his first year teaching. He begins his career with enthusiasm and excitement, waiting for the bright future years to come. 

I like SAHS a lot! Everyone here has been so welcoming and staff are very helpful with whatever I need. The school itself is beautiful and function for the large number of people that use the building every day.”

— Yauch

Becoming a teacher requires a process of prep programs, pedagogy and psychological classes, earning a degree, student teaching and lastly an evaluation skill test. Yauch was required to perform an intense project called ED-TPA in which he had to design, teach and reflect on teaching lessons. The procedure of becoming a teacher, as well as finding a job opening, can be difficult.

“For myself, I was working all the while I was in school and through student teaching. Finding a job at a school you like or prefer can be quite the challenge. It was very difficult to ensure my readiness,” Yauch explained.

Photo by Julie Xiong
Christopher Yauch is a new conceptual physics teacher. He brings students, such as junior Joe Krenz, junior Matthew Bohlig, senior Austin Schuldt and senior Anthony Koslowski, positive energy and guidance.

Qualities of an exceptional teacher consist of communication skills, listening skills, approachability and a strong work ethic. Furthermore, an exceptional teacher also demands objectives, relevant lessons and an explanation. Prior to considering teaching physics, Yauch taught swimming lessons, lifeguarding and CPR. He was also a competitive swim coach.

“I had a fantastic physics teacher in high school and I have been interested in all things space-related since I was young,” Yauch added. “These things led me to be very interested in physics.”

The student to teacher ratio comprises approximately 23:1, yet the average student to teacher ratio supposedly stands 17:1. With teachers being largely outnumbered by students, it makes teaching a class more strenuous than necessary. 

“Lower numbers in the classroom means I can interact with each student meaningfully more often than I could with a larger number of students,” Yauch added.

Typically, the majority of students take conceptual physics than regular physics. The number of students taking conceptual physics has increased from 25,000 students to 400,000 students over the past few decades. 

Senior Jacob Breth said conceptual physics is “more of a hands-on kind of class,” which is nicer for him because it is a more beneficial method of learning compared to regular teaching.

Conceptual physics also gives a solid foundation for understanding and easily grasping the basics of physics. The course explains physics in a calming manner and environment.

“I like how it’s a slow, easy pace class where I’m able to understand,” senior Anjali Vang shared.

Overall, SAHS ranks #41 out of 431 for the best public school in Minnesota, #208 out of 430 for best public high school teachers and #37 out of 179 for best STEM in Minnesota. All these statistics contribute to making SAHS well-known for its overall A grade ranking.

“Stillwater has a reputation for being a fantastic school to be at for students and teachers,” Yauch said. “I found out about the opening and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work here!”

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