Science/technology teacher brings concern for the environment to her classroom
Name: Myrna Matulevich
School: St. Matthew’s Catholic School, Kalispell, Montana
Educational role: Middle-school science teacher, eighth-grade computer teacher, and technology coordinator for the whole school.
Tell us about your family: My husband, Joe, is a civil engineer. Our son, Blaine, graduated from Caltech and lives in Pasadena; our daughter, Iris, will soon graduate from Gonzaga University.
When you were the age of your students, what did you want to be when you grew up? A paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs.
What was your favorite subject in school? I’ve always loved science and English. I love to read.
What are you reading right now? Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, and Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly.
Is your desk at school messy or neat? Messy. I can’t seem to get ahead of the stacks and piles, but I feel like I know where things are, so I use my energy elsewhere.
Tell us about a special classroom project. The seventh-grade Trashion Fashion Show is planned for Earth Day. Students research a type of trash and its impact on the environment, then create clothing to showcase their material, such as plastic bags, aluminum cans, cardboard, or newspaper. During a fashion show for the whole school, while models are on the runway, groups use their “fashion description” to educate the audience on their particular item. One year we had a Disney Princess outfit made of grocery-store plastic bags, a newspaper tuxedo, and a paper wedding gown.
In the spring the sixth grade will study Mount Everest, and we will end the unit by climbing “Mt. Everest” — hiking up to a local viewpoint called Lone Pine and viewing some glacial features left behind by the last Ice Age.
As the eighth grade begins to study chemistry, we will make homemade bread and spiced chai tea as we investigate aromatics.
Outside of school, what do you enjoy? Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking. I live close to Glacier National Park, and I love spending time there.
What’s your favorite holiday to celebrate at school? St. Patrick’s Day. I love the “leprechauns” that come and cause havoc in the younger grades, and this is a holiday that is fun without any presents or sweet treats required (and St. Patrick is a pretty cool saint!).
What do you like best about your school? The sense of community. The staff feels like family. I feel supported by parents, and I teach whole families with a long line of siblings going through my classes.
Why do you choose to teach in a Catholic school? I like to teach where we are free to talk about God and pray during class. We are teaching the whole child; it’s more than just academic subjects.
Favorite classroom prayer: The Guardian Angel Prayer. In my class, we say it at the end of each day.
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