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Juliette Guarino Berg

Middle School Science Teacher, The Chapin School

 

Do not become discouraged by the delusion that is perfection. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t give up on something you are genuinely passionate about.

What do you do?

I am an elementary/middle school science educator. For the past several years, I have worked as a K-4 science specialist, teaching science to a wide range of elementary grades. This fall, I will be stepping into a new role as a fourth grade science teacher, where I will focus exclusively on science instruction in fourth grade. My job is to develop and deliver a challenging, engaging, and developmentally appropriate science curriculum for my students. 

Why did you choose this field?

I fell in love with science and math in middle school, and by the time I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to major in a science discipline. When I entered my freshman year at Binghamton University as a biology major, my intent was to one day enroll in medical school and become a physician. Over the course of my four years in undergrad, I remained interested in science, but became less interested in becoming a doctor. At the time, I was unaware of the wide range of STEM occupations that I could pursue with a biology degree, and no longer had a concrete plan as to what I wanted to do “for a living.”

My mother is an educator, and when I graduated from college, she suggested that I give teaching a try. Weeks after my commencement ceremony, I found myself in a classroom in my old elementary school, working as a substitute teacher in a fourth grade classroom - and having fun! I figured that if I could enjoy working as a substitute teacher on a hot day in the middle of June, I could enjoy having my own classroom. 

After a few years working as an associate teacher in general elementary classrooms, I merged my passions for science and teaching by becoming a science educator, focusing solely on teaching science. 

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

"I wish that there had been someone to open my eyes up to the myriad career possibilities that exist in the world of STEM."

Up until graduating from college, I had a very limited idea of what a “successful” career in STEM looked like. The majority of students in my classes considered themselves “pre-med,” and when their grades dropped below A and were no longer “medical school competitive,” they left the sciences entirely. This was discouraging, and frankly, there were many times when I considered doing the same. I’m very glad that I “stuck it out” and found this amazing, fulfilling career in science education.

Why do you love working in STEM?

"I enjoy giving my students the foundational skills they need to thrive as scientists in the future."

I love working in STEM education because I love watching young people make sense of the world around them through science. Seeing a student have their very own “aha moment” during an activity or investigation is priceless. This past year, a group of my students asked to form their own lunchtime science club, because they wanted to do more science outside of science class! The fact that I had students willing to miss their recess so that they could do independent and collaborative science research was one of the greatest compliments I could receive as a science educator. 

Best advice for the next generation

Do not become discouraged by the delusion that is perfection. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Take it easy on yourself when you’re struggling to meet a goal. Don’t give up on something you are genuinely passionate about because the alternative is easier. You will thank yourself in the long run.

Fun fact

I love comedy, especially stand-up and sketch comedy, and I once took a class on writing comedy for television! I also love pigs, and hope to one day own one as a pet.