Taylor Montgomery loves being surrounded by the culture of learning at Oldfields. The small class sizes and the focus on the whole child give her an opportunity to immerse students in the material and encourage them to ask questions and make new discoveries. Teaching life science is her passion. “It’s hard for me to describe why I love the field of science so much. Science is always growing, changing, evolving. To be a scientist, you need to be passionate, curious, and work hard. You should like to work with your hands. You should be asking ‘why?’ and be okay with not getting an answer. You should be willing to change your mind. I love these qualities about science. I love learning the weird facts, hearing about new discoveries, and finding out stories about the scientists behind the discoveries. I think science drew me in because it is a way of living where you never stop learning.” Originally from Alabama, Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Auburn University and later a Master of Arts in Teaching from Loyola University. She lives on campus and says the experience has deepened her love of teaching and education.
Taylor strongly believes that science education is connected to learning in general, “There are so many skills that students don’t think of as science-related that make such an impact on learning and future opportunities. Art, acting, taking a creative perspective, debating, building models, loving the outdoors or animals, working on a team, etc. are all parts of science that get overlooked but are just as important as the content minutiae.” Taylor engages her students and inspires them to see the impact science can have on their lives, encouraging them to think about pursuing both physical and life sciences and inspiring them to consider a career in science. Some of her favorite teaching moments have included:
- • Reading a field journal of a student who is keeping to track of the different animals they are interested in and seeing them channel their artistic talent into scientific writing
- • When a student aces their probability genetics question after saying they just aren’t “good” at math
- • Listening to a presentation on genetic engineering from a student taking the perspective of a farmer, a new parent or a religious figure
- • Building models in forensics to showcase crime scenes.
- • Facilitating a discussion on what the definition of crime is and why people might commit crimes
- • Watching a student continue performing labs at home during virtual learning (including a dissection!)
Taylor tells her students that a passion for animals has led her to many experiences interacting with furry friends, from working in a veterinary emergency room to zoo-keeping. On campus you can often find Taylor with Daisy, her dog, walking the many trails surrounding Oldfields.
Taylor shares advice from the science teacher we all watched as kids, “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” (That is Mrs. Frizzle, of course!)