Transforming science education through research-driven innovation

“Inside the Classroom” with Iwona Jadamiec

August 8, 2019

Image: Iwona Jadamiec

Meet Iwona Jadamiec, a 7th grade life science teacher and A Medical Mystery field-test participant.

Why did you become a teacher, and where are you now?

During freshman year at Clifton High School, my German teacher Frau Podesta assigned a research project on a German artist and asked us to present it to the class. I was very nervous and doubted myself, but ultimately, I nailed it! At the end of the presentation, she asked me if I ever considered becoming a teacher. My response was “No” because I thought I was too shy and quiet to be a teacher. Frau Podesta encouraged me to consider it because she thought I had potential to succeed in the field of education. From that day on, her words have been engraved in my mind. I started at Montclair State University in Fall 2011 majoring in biology, as I always had a love for science. As I was completing my undergraduate degree, the opportunity to teach at my local church came up. Listening to Frau Podesta’s advice, I gave it a try. I began teaching religious education, and I fell in love with it. I graduated from Montclair in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Biology and went straight for my Master of Education. I graduated with my master’s degree in May 2017 and did my student teaching at Colombia High School (Maplewood, New Jersey). I currently teach 7th-grade life science at Eric Smith Middle School (Ramsey, New Jersey). Frau Podesta’s words almost ten years ago changed my life, and I would not be where I am today if it was not for her! Her approach to education and rapport with all her students was truly magnificent. Every day, like her, I greet my students at the door, smiling and ready to educate with creative lessons. I became a teacher to hopefully be a role model for my students as she was to me.

How did you become familiar with BSCS Science Learning?

I became a member of the BSCS family by accident and it has been one of the greatest experiences for which I am very grateful. A coworker from my department was initially enrolled in the BSCS 3DMSS (A Medical Mystery) professional development and was moving up to teach physics at the high school. They asked if I would like to take over where she left off, and I did.

What would you say to a teacher who is considering whether or not participate in the online professional learning institutes associated with A Medical Mystery?

I would recommend taking the online professional learning classes as it really prepared me to begin the unit. I became familiar with the material and STeLLA® strategies BSCS has designed specifically for this unit. I believe both of these contributed to not only my success, but also the success of my students due to my new-found confidence to guide them. I also truly valued the ability to share and reflect my ideas during my professional learning with my cohort. The opportunity to receive feedback and hear other ideas and experiences further helped strengthen my understanding and preparation.

What is one educational resource or tool that you love and cannot live without?

I love using the HHMI Biointeractive as a resource in my classroom. They are great to use as inspiration for lessons. I often use their videos as phenomena for a lesson.

What excites you most about the future of science education?

I am very excited about the future of science education as it is moving from a teacher-centered to a student-centered classroom. Science education is currently based on inquiry, where students learn essential skills they can take outside of the science classroom. Skills such as the ability to conduct an investigation to gather data and use as evidence to support a claim. The ability to develop and use models to describe phenomena. These and many other skill sets are what science education should be about, and A Medical Mystery does just that.