Esti Brady

Teacher Appreciation Week: Dr. Humston

Dr. Humston has been teaching at City High for only two years, but she’s already had a huge impact on her students–including me.

Currently, Dr. Humston teaches chemistry. Dr. Humston decided to teach later than many of her colleagues, going through undergrad and grad–and earning a PhD in research–before switching to education.

“I knew that when I was doing research, my favorite part was when students would come and join our lab and I would teach them our techniques and lab procedures,” Humston said. “That was more fun for me than the actual lab and doing the research, dissecting mice and culturing cells.”

First, she taught at the University of Iowa, as well as junior high, and then high school. As the grade level of her students changed, her goals shifted accordingly.  In college, students are generally more decided on what they like, so Humston’s goals were to teach the material and help prepare her students for future jobs. Now, she emphasizes getting kids excited about science.

“When you look outside and you wonder, ‘Why is the sky blue?’ and why is this and why is that, there’s an answer. You can find out answers by just asking questions,” Humston said.  “My goals became to get kids asking questions and thinking and wondering.”

However, she doesn’t apply these principles in her work–she also uses them at home. While raising her kids, she encourages them to use a more scientific way of thinking.

“I just love the kinds of questions [my kids] ask. I don’t always tell them the answer,” Humston said. “We just talk about it and let them think and figure it out together.”

As well as getting her students involved in science, Dr. Humston values getting to know students’ own unique passions. While hearing about some of Dr. Humston’s teaching stories, I was very moved by how highly she thought of making a positive difference in people’s lives.

“I’ve been able to form lasting and strong relationships with student who make me proud of their achievements,” Humston said. “It’s not just about what I can do, it’s about what I’ve seen [my students] do.”

Dr. Humston looks towards the future with a similar mentality. She wants to keep teaching so she can continue to watch her students succeed.

“My hope is that over the next 20 years while I’m teaching, I can have more stories,” Humston said. “Watching kids achieve what they want to achieve could be something I’m really proud of.”

Though Dr. Humston wants her students to learn from her, she also wants to learn from her students. She keeps an open mind and tries new things. She loves to read, exercise, and someday she wants to try skydiving. All of these things are what make Dr. Humston a great teacher. With her willingness to learn and experience, she recognizes that teaching isn’t necessarily about her. She realizes that students lives are complicated. Every kid has a lot going on in and out of school.

“I might come in with a super great idea or plan, and it could go way wrong,” Humston said. “But, I have to find a way to make students understand and want to be in my class.”

Even with a few mishaps, Dr. Humston’s classroom is always interesting and engaging. Her passion for science, learning, and thinking shines in every aspect of her life.

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