Nilufar Fatih is back in a Harmony school classroom, but this time, she’s the teacher. An alumnus of Harmony Science Academy, Fatih now teaches at Harmony School of Ingenuity. After receiving a B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Houston, Fatih was working in a research lab when she heard that a lab assistant position was open at Harmony.
“I got really interested, but at the same time, I was a little curious what kind of lab assistance would be needed in high school,” she said. “So when I actually saw the activities the students were doing and the equipment they were using, I understood. Honestly, I was a little jealous and happy for these kids at the same time, because it seemed a lot has changed since I was in high school.”
Fatih now teaches PLTW Biomedical Science courses Medical Interventions (MI), Human Body Systems (HBS), and Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS).
“I always wanted work that would improve me and where I could be affecting others in a positive way,” she said. “This job seemed to fit those criteria. My initial plan was to work only one year, but here I am in my second year of being a teacher.”
Fatih said teaching PLTW classes has been a great pleasure. While she had a learning curve in the beginning getting used to ordering materials and managing time in each class, she sees the payoff as her students embrace their own learning.
“At the beginning of the year, I would have students that were pretty shy to talk in front of their class or share their opinion in class discussions,” she said. “However, through activities that require collaborative work, independent practice, and research opportunities, students gain practice and develop self-confidence over time, which makes me happy as a teacher.”
Fatih also loves seeing the excitement in students every time they think they found the “career of their lives.”
“This program has given students a perspective when they had no idea of what wanted to do by introducing various options to choose from as they learn through exciting problem-based learning activities,” she said. “I had one student last year come up to me and say, ‘Ms. Fatih, you really messed up my plans. Now I have to change all my plans, because after studying all the diseases in PBS, I want to be a cardiologist. So can we do more activities related to that?’”
Even though she says she is learning as she goes, Fatih said that getting to know her students and investing time to know their needs has been critical.
“Since our classes are designed to be student centered, I realized that these students have great ideas and all I had to do was to support them, help, or encourage them to bring those ideas into action,” she said.
PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram visited Fatih’s class and talked to her students about the opportunities available to them with the skills they’re learning.
“These skills are not just preparing you for the next step like college,” Bertram said. “These skills are going to serve you your entire life.”
Bertram also visited with the over 600 students and educators who attended the PLTW Texas State Conference in Houston on Feb. 19.
Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.