Michelle Tseng: New Teacher, New Experiences

Lily Smith, Staff Writer

Science teacher Michelle Tseng said she thought teaching was going to be a breeze. She did not know that one of the fastest-spreading stories at WJ would start in her classroom.

Tseng started teaching three years ago, after majoring in biology at Vanderbilt University. She grew up in the Bethesda/Rockville area and has always wanted to teach in Montgomery County.

“I really liked biology in high school, so I decided to major in biology. I also had a really good teacher in high school so, it just seemed to like click and make sense,” Tseng said.

Tseng teaches Biology and Matter and Energy. Tseng said it is more interesting to teach two subjects, but it is difficult to switch mindsets.

“I like the kids; talking to them is interesting. I don’t like the grading or having to basically hound kids for things. If they don’t turn things in, you kind of have to get on top of them, so that can be kind of unpleasant,” Tseng said on the ups and downs of teaching.

Last May, in Tseng’s classroom, there was an argument between two students. One student ended up taking out scissors and injuring the other, causing her to go to the hospital.

“I guess it has been a few months, but that’s not a common thing that happens here. That was more [about that] student, who had some issues,” said Tseng.

Tseng has mostly recovered from the conflict and is enjoying teaching at WJ. She thoroughly appreciates having another teacher in the room with her. The assistant teacher is usually Connie Jacobson.

“She’s great. It just helps because sometimes you want to help everyone, but you’re only one person. It also helps maintain control, by having an extra adult in the room,” said Tseng.

Tseng, who is only three years into her teaching career, said she does not know what the future has in store for her.

“[In] 10 years, I’ll probably still be teaching, but I might go back to school for another degree. I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet,” she said.