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Student teacher Amanda Palarz learns as she teaches her students

Student teacher Amanda Palarz helps a student understand biology topics (F. Onyibor).

Fifth hour, what is meant to be her study hall and time to get her workload in check, Amanda Palarz instead volunteers to help students prepare for the cellular respiration test they must take today. What her students may not know is Palarz is actually learning more from them.

It has been several months since Amanda Palarz began working at Huntley High School in the Biology department and she has been grateful for every day.

“Working here has been great. I’ve learned how to deal with things and change my teaching styles,” said Palarz.

Even her students have seen that change in her.

“At first, I could tell she was nervous teaching us,” said Junior Meghan Powell.

But now, her students are comfortable with her and can easily talk to her.

“I can tell she’s really adapted her teaching styles for us,” said Sabrina Kozin.

And what’s more, because she is only 23 years old, her students can easily relate to her.

“I think it gives me a great advantage. They like to talk to me about the experiences in college educational wise,” said Palarz.

The juniors and seniors really appreciate the little tangents she gets on at times. They see it as a much needed break especially when trying to learn about something like respiration.

“It makes me enjoy the concept we’re learning, said Junior Sydney Skubal. “She understands when we don’t get it and comes around to help us.”

However teaching was not always what Palarz wanted as a profession.

As she entered her freshman year of college, she declared herself a nursing major. However, she quickly saw it was not what she had in mind for herself and switched to Biology during her sophomore year.

“It [Biology] was the most interesting to me. Then later on I changed to high school. I mean can you seriously imagine me teaching middle school?” said Palarz with a smile.

In the next five years she hopes to get her masters and have a solid job where she knows she will be coming back the next year.

As for now, Palarz must concentrate on the table full of students who look to her to break down the many layers of fermentation.

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