By Derrick Smith
Every teacher can look back in their life and remember a teacher or teachers that made an impact on them and guided them to become a teacher. Cassie Herndon says that she had some great teachers growing up, but there are a few that really made a big impact on her.
“My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Laster, had a positive impact on my love for reading,” Herndon said. “She would let me go to the library whenever I needed another book to read, even if it was every day. Then, my college professors, specifically Dr. Angle and Martha Halihan, challenged me and further developed my passion for science. Martha showed me that chemistry is a foreign language and once you learn it, you can speak science.”
Cassie teaches Biology and Physical Science to sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Stillwater High School. This is her fifth year in the district and fourth at the high school. She and her husband have two dogs. When she is not in the classroom, Herndon enjoys spending time with her family and pets, hiking, gardening, training for half-marathons, and going to concerts and plays.
While she enjoys all aspects of teaching students, Cassie says that there is something that stands out as her favorite.
“I enjoy the ‘ah-ha’ moments,” she said. “Those times when a student steps into their own power, puts in effort and takes ownership of what they are learning. I get to watch them make discoveries and explain challenging scientific concepts in their own words, which is equal parts inspiring and amusing.”
As a newer teacher, Cassie has been given all different types of advice and had wisdom passed along to her. She says that through it all she has received some really helpful advice.
“The best advice I think I’ve been given in teaching is to treat students as developing humans and help them recognize I’m human too,” she said. “Mistakes are going to happen, same with failure. Acknowledging that as a teacher has provided opportunities for growth and understanding for both me and my students. We are going to mess up but that’s okay. What matters most is how we learn from it and do better.”