New science teacher brings fresh perspective to Park

Sophie Sigel applies her experience teaching abroad


Emily Ziessman

New teacher Sophie Sigel explains an activity to her class Feb. 8. After teaching in Taiwan last semester, Sigel started this semester as a tutor and biology teacher.

Maggie Klaers and Ruthie Posada

Sophie Sigel, the science department’s newest member, will be teaching biology classes this semester.

“I am doing some tutoring for English and science in the mornings, and I also teach biology,” Sigel said.

According to one of Sigel’s biology students, junior Karie Chula, Sigel’s optimistic demeanor creates an engaging classroom.

“I like Ms. Sigel because she seems super relatable, and she is super nice,” Chula said. “I think she brings a positive attitude and a new perspective on a lot of things.”

Junior Miriam Hope said she enjoys that Sigel’s classroom is a collaborative and relaxing environment.

“It’s more chill (than other classes) and there is a lot more group work and time to talk and get to know each other,” Hope said.

Sigel said her experience teaching abroad last semester prepared her for a career in teaching.

“I taught at a school in Taiwan at a boarding school, so the kids actually lived on campus. I was more like a parent and a teacher when I was there, (rather) than just a teacher,” Sigel said. “It was a huge culture shock, but it was also the best experience in my whole life. I loved it. Teaching there was very different, but I loved it just as much.”

Hope said Sigel’s time teaching in Taiwan has positively influenced how she teaches by allowing her to bring new ideas to the classroom.

“I like how young she is and how she’s traveled to and taught in a lot of cool places,” Hope said. “She brings new ideas and a different perspective to Park because she’s taught in Taiwan and Nicaragua, so she has fresh thoughts to bring to the table.”

According to Sigel, it was challenging to become accustomed to a different language, but it strengthened her ability to teach English as a second language.

“I also teach English as a second language,” Sigel said. “I don’t speak any Chinese, so going to Taiwan I had to learn a brand new language. I think being a language learner myself gave me a ton of insight on what it feels like to not know the language that’s around you. It’s really overwhelming, but it also gave me ideas of how to help students who are learning English in a way that makes sense.”

Sigel said the community and teachers at Park have made the transition back to the United States much easier.

“Everyone (at Park) is so nice and welcoming, and everyone has been super great. It’s been really fun. It’s really nice to be back in the United States teaching,” Sigel said.