NW new staff full interview with Jacob Nichols, a NW science teacher
What does your position entail?
I teach five hours of freshman biology, or Biology 1. Because I teach five hours of that, I am also in a special group of teachers, where we intensively look at how we can best administer the success of freshman.
What does a day in your life look like?
I wake up at around 6 a.m. I get my breakfast and get ready for the day. I will get all my papers together and check my email to see if I’ve missed anything. I get my schedule for the day, head to school and if I need to print anything off, I’ll get that printed off. Then, usually, I meet with a few teachers. I do have two classes in which I have a co-teacher in there with me, so I will usually see if I can catch up with her to just figure out the plan for the day.
What inspired you to go into this field?
I actually have my undergraduate degree in microbiology. I was originally gonna go into research, so as I pursued that field more and more I realized that that was not the place for me. I’m just not cut out to be in a lab all day, but what I still love is the pursuit of knowledge. Through talking to some of my peers, family members and some of my mentors, all of them said that I’d be a good teacher, but they never wanted to push me away from my passion for science. So I began speaking to graduate schools, and the graduate school at K-State kind of just picked me up. They said ‘Hey we’d love to have you here.’ As I began to learn more and more about it, I just realized this is really where I belong. I just really love the pursuit of knowledge and I love helping people at least getting the passion for learning. I know that all of my students aren’t going to become biologists. I know that not all are going to pursue biology, but I hope that they’re at least able to walk out with some tools that help them.
What makes Northwest stand out from other schools?
Certainly, it’s the atmosphere. I’ve been to quite a few schools and I’ve seen a lot of different social groups and organizations. Northwest has one of the best support systems out there, there hasn’t been a moment where I have felt like I’ve been on my own. I know that if a student is having a hard time they can always find someone that will be willing to help. For me it’s the community that makes the difference.
Highlight of the year so far?
I was a judge for . That was a lot of fun. Seeing all the students getting hyped up and excited was so cool. Just seeing how passionate all the students are, from freshmen to seniors, about their school and supporting each other. That was really cool to see our pep assemblies, I love them.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m really excited for the year as a whole. I’m really excited to watch the basketball team. I was in band all the way from fifth grade all the way to college, so I love watching all the sports stuff. Basketball has always been so much fun to me.
What are your goals for the year?
First of all, to survive the year. Being new on staff is a lot of information constantly coming in, and just learning how to manage through all that is going to be a task. But I think, other than that, to make an impact on other students. I told my students that I’m going to give them every chance I can to succeed. My goal is to reach every student and to make sure they know that there is at least one person who cares for them and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help them succeed.”
How can students contact you?
I’m usually here 10-20 minutes before school and I’m always here after school for at least an hour, so they can always come and find me. They can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can follow my twitter @mr.nicholsbio. We haven’t been doing very many activities so far, but once we start getting more into labs, I will be posting pictures.
What is one thing you would say to the NW student body?
I would say something that I tell all my students: always give yourself a chance for success. One point is more than zero points, five points is more than one point, so always put in that effort to at least try. The worst thing that can happen is that you can learn from the experience. That’s the worst outcome of anything, you have more knowledge than what you started with. No matter what, if you are doing an assignment and don’t do alright, you’ve learned from that how to succeed. I’m a rock climber, that’s one of the things that I feel like every time that I fail at climbing up a wall, I have learned a new thing about how to get up. If you don’t come in first place at a competition, you can see what others have done, and you can learn from them. But you never get this chance if you don’t try, so always give yourself a chance for success.
Where have you worked before?
This is my first teaching position. I did my student teaching at Olathe South, I previously worked in some lab positions at K-State and I was also a graduate research assistant.