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In Her Element

Posted 05/14/2020 by Caitlin Beery

Teeter exploring the beautiful outdoors of Colorado. photo courtesy of Rachel Teeter

Ms. Teeter leaves her mark on her students.

Science classes are all unique and interesting in their own way, but there is something special about the chemistry classes at TJ. Chemistry and biology teacher Rachel Teeter has created classes full of curiosity and wonder. Students in all classes learn about the world around them. Through the exploration of science, students learn important life and time management skills. Learning a new topic can be challenging and require a lot of studying, but there is never a dull moment in her class.

Teeter was born in Castle Rock, Colorado. She graduated from Rock Canyon High School, and then attended the University of Colorado Boulder to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This major focuses on the relationships and interactions that take place across all levels of biological organization. Teeter chose this to study out of a love for biology from her high school classes. She stated, “High school biology was my favorite class, and I wanted to explore more related topics. Also, a lot of the classes include fieldwork, which I love.” It was during her time in college when she decided to become a teacher. Teeter decided to take a teaching class in her sophomore year of college, and it soon turned into one of her favorite classes. She attributes her desire to become a teacher from her love of people. “I love seeing students every day and watching them progress, both in science and as individuals.” 

She graduated from CU Boulder in 2018 and became a teacher at TJ soon after. After graduating, Teeter came to teach chemistry and biology at TJ. She gets all of her students excited about learning, and there are many labs that she organizes to further student curiosity in both chemistry and biology. Teeter also teaches a wide variety of students. They can take biology, honors chemistry, or AP Chemistry. All these subjects require a lot of hard work and discipline. Teeter not only tries to teach her students about chemistry and biology, but she also teaches important life skills. “I hope that students progress in their critical thinking skills. This is the most important thing one can get out of any class, and it’s especially important in science because it is relevant to what happens around you every single day,”explained Teeter. She does a great job of making students want to work hard. AP Chemistry student and junior Aidan Mishell has found Teeter’s class both fun and interesting, stating, “You get a fun experience with a good teacher, and it teaches you about interesting sciences. If you are in AP Chemistry it also shows you what some of the work will be like in college.” 

Teeter’s classes are very heavy on labs. Labs allow students to explore the topic that they are learning about, especially one lab in particular. Titration seems to have become a favorite amongst the students and Teeter. “You have to get a certain amount of solution into a beaker filled with something else and you use an indicator color to tell you if you put too much/too little. Eventually, you are shaking around this beaker hoping that it will turn back to a light pink color from a dark pink and everyone in the group is going crazy,” explained Mishell. Titration is the slow addition of one solution of a known concentration to a known volume of another solution of an unknown concentration until the reaction becomes neutral. This is one of many tricky and interesting labs that students in chemistry are able to do. Precision and focus are just some of the traits needed for the lab and for Teeter’s classroom. 

After just two years at TJ, Teeter has found a home here at TJ. “The staff, the students, and everyone works to maintain a very positive, encouraging, and upbeat atmosphere that I love being a part of.” Although there are many great things about TJ, Teeter enjoys her science department co-workers the most. “They are super awesome, very encouraging people who I enjoy talking to both in school and outside of school.” Teeter has truly become a part of the community at TJ and has made a positive impact on her students. She will continue to do this through her teaching.