Sarah Sanford saves the day
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From test tubes to textbooks, Sarah Sanford’s career has come a long way. Once a biologist who traveled the world to study, she has been at Robinson for the past four years as an AP environmental and earth space science teacher. However, she recently transferred to the freshman IB Biology classroom to take over.
Constance Whitman, the previous freshman I.B. biology teacher for four years, went on maternity leave in August and recently reported her decision not to return to Robinson. George Mabry was her replacement, but left the class the second week of February to take over the physics teaching position.
Enter Sanford, a scientist with a passion for teaching.
How does teaching freshman biology compare to her previous classes?
“There are topics I covered in my other classes, but now we get to get into the real nitty gritty,” Sanford said.
Sanford hasn’t always been a teacher, in fact she originally went to University of South Florida to study biology, changing her degree several times while there.
Even without a teaching degree, Sanford was awarded teacher of the year in 2017.
Before her career at Robinson, she traveled the Earth for research. From experimenting on an invasive species of grass in Florida, to testing genetics of cheetahs in Kenya, she has certainly done it all.
Sanford was approached by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to become a teacher, as the foundation believes that having scientists teach science is more relevant than having teachers teach science. This is evidently true, as she won teacher of the year and is regarded highly by past students.
“She has a unique way of teaching,” said Alyssa Pieri (’19), one of Sanford’s past students. “She’s one of my favorite teachers in the school.”
Sanford changes her style with each class, going from more hands-on activities to textbook work. Her goal is to have the students understand what science is like out in the real world, which is why she tries to make the students enjoy the class, not just memorize facts.
Sanford greets the new class with an energetic outlook, saying, “It’s something I haven’t done before. I’m always looking for a challenge.”