With a Ph.D. in biology, this is Peter Bouwman’s first time teaching at the high school level. He has been teaching since he was a graduate student and he went to Florida State University to study for his Ph.D. and after teaching at the undergrad level. He has been substituting for the last couple years at South Lakes High School and Westfield High School.
Why did you choose to teach biology ?
I’m a marine biologist, so I worked on animal behavior. I spent eight years at Florida State University doing research on marine biology and then at Clemson University for my post doc. I moved to Germany for my wife’s post doctoral.
What did you specifically do in Germany?
I worked in a lab and taught communication classes, teaching scientists how to talk to each other. When I was in grad school, I found that scientists usually don’t talk to each other. I taught a lot of classes about how to write papers and give presentations while I was there.
Why is communication important?
Communication is important in science since science is huge. By not communicating when working in science, you would feel that you have not contributed to the scientific community.
What do you like about biology?
I like the process of science. To me, the process of science is a problem solving thing and I have always loved [it]. I have always liked puzzles [or] something to figure out and for me, it was biology. The process of science is that there are questions that we do not know the answer to when researching and [as a science teacher], I teach that to students. That’s the part I really love about science—not a bunch of trivia to memorize. It is a process, and that’s the cool part. You will learn the process while trying to figure things out.