Quintin Nelson

Ms. Flarend is the only teacher at B-A with a doctorate.

Ben Nofsker, Staff Writer

Physics class has a reputation – and it’s not the greatest. Popular belief is that it is too hard and beyond comprehension.

Bellwood-Antis teacher Mrs. Flarend changes that perception.

“Ms. Flarend has found a way to take complicated scientific topics and somehow made them fun, and she is very patient with her students,” says B-A student Lordin Williams.

Mrs. Flarend is this week’s Stellar Staffulty.

A smart and fun teacher on the outside, underneath all the complex equations she holds a special secret. Ms. Flarend is more accurately known as Dr. Flarend! Yes, Ms. Flarend has a PhD and 15 whole years of undergraduate and graduate schooling (four years of undergrad, three years of  grad school, two years of teacher certification, and six years of PhD part time).

What distinguishes doctoral work from other graduate level work is simple, Ms. Flarend said. When doing typical Masters level work you are acquiring knowledge; however, when doing doctoral work, “you are creating knowledge,” she says.

“A B.S/ Masters is about learning things that other people have found out. A PhD requires a large study that contributes to the understanding in a certain field,” says Ms. Flarend on the difference between the possible degrees.

Ms. Flarend’s PhD specializes in science education, meaning that she studied how people (both young people and adults) learn science. Her studies gave her insight onto how people learn, and they are the source of her “rants” that people study the wrong way, she said.

“Learning is an active process so ‘looking over’ notes does almost nothing. Talking and questioning with other people are the best ways to study,” Ms. Flarend said.

Ms. Flarend began her career in Nuclear Engineering, but she later switched to the Education field, where it was much harder.

“My neutrons behaved the same way whether it was Monday, Tuesday, or Friday. My neutrons didn’t have pets die or get a new girlfriend. People are so much harder to understand,” Ms. Flarend emphasizes.

Ms. Flarend is the most educated teacher in the school, but she said that she doesn’t think about it very much, and says that the faculty and staff at Bellwood are all incredibly good at teaching, and everyone learns from each other.