New physics student teacher starts career at Park

Samantha Kamal gains knowledge, experience through student teaching


Student teacher Samantha Kamal explains a physics problem to senior Anand Datt Jan. 14. Kamal will be helping out around the physics classes.

Kate Schneider

Student teacher Samantha Kamal said she got her start in physics through her lifelong passion for astronomy. She started on her path toward becoming a physics teacher when she discovered physics was a requirement to pursue her interest in astronomy.

“I really liked astronomy, when I was really young. I liked learning about the planets and all that stuff. Then I learned that in order to (do) astronomy stuff, you have to do physics,” Kamal said. “I was doing stuff in my undergrad, and I didn’t really like the research part of it. But I (was) a teacher’s assistant for an astronomy class, and it was basically a little teaching jo

b, and I really loved doing that.”

According to physics teacher Daniel Ruzek, Kamal will be helping out in the classroom wherever she is needed the most, whether that is teaching the class or providing extra help.

“We’re trying to figure out what she’s going to be doing. She’ll be teaching some classes, she’ll be kind of subbing in on some lessons (and) doing some team-teaching with myself and Mr. Dangerfield. I think she’ll bring a younger, fresher perspective on things,” Ruzek said.

Ruzek said Kamal is making great first impressions on her new students and is providing support to the other physics teachers.

“She seems really great. A lot of the kids have connected with her, asking if she’s available before and after school to give extra help. It’s nice having another member of the physics team,” Ruzek said.

According to senior Halle Weinman, Kamal is helpful when students are unable to solve problems on their own, and she has been friendly and open toward students.

“I think she’s really nice and helpful. She’ll help you work through problems without just giving you the answer, and she tries to connect with everybody,” Weinman said. “She helps with any word problems that we have to do, or helps us understand any of the things that we’re not getting.”

Kamal said one of her greatest strengths as a teacher is patience and the persistence to allow students to think for themselves.

“I think I have a lot of patience or at least I can project that I have a lot of patience. That helps people feel like they can do it if I’m just sitting there and I’m telling them to show me how to do it instead of just telling people how to do it. So I think it really helps in the long run if I’m patient enough to have them work it out themselves instead of just telling them the answer,” Kamal said.

According to Kamal, she would like to try out her ideas for teaching to see if they will produce a successful learning environment for everyone.

“I would say my biggest goal is to figure out what I like to do in a classroom, try a bunch of things and see what works. Because I haven’t really been able to put theory into practice yet, and that’s what I’m looking to do here,” Kamal said.

Ruzek said he hopes to introduce Kamal to a positive teaching environment at Park and help her learn how to improve and perfect her teaching techniques.

“I am hoping she has a really good experience and the students here have a great experience with her and help her learn how to be the best teacher she can be and show her what a great community St. Louis Park High School is,” Ruzek said.