TUCSON, Ariz — Chemistry can be confusing -- daunting -- even for the best students, but Jill Christman has a formula for success that works for her students. "If you can connect with them then they will work for you and do the things you ask them to do and behave in class and all the things that make for a great classroom. They just naturally do," she said.
The former real-world chemist's strategy has developed over time at CDO. She's designed lots of labs that help motivate students to work beyond their capabilities.
"Most of them come into chemistry thinking chemistry is this awful experience and they're going to hate it. But I think a majority of them leave with a respect for chemistry and realize it's something they all can do," she said.
Senior Victoria Flores hopes to follow her teacher's lead -- to become a chemist. "I've had a love for STEM ever since I was little. But when I took Miss Christman's class she's sharing her passion of chemistry with me -- just gave me my new passion of chemistry and I plan to pursue it in college cause she made me love it so much. She taught me something special, said Flores.
Students and staff have recognized Christman's dedication and commitment to student learning. She found to really reach students takes extra time and support. "I have kids at 7 am and until 5pm. And so the constant support they know they can get from me that helps them feel they can achieve," said Christman.
Her 2 decades of hard work has paid off -- now humbled, she says, that she's been selected as one of the candidates for Teacher of the Year. "I was very honored," she added.
The "Teacher of the Year" will be announced in the spring.