“Adventure is worthwhile in itself” – Amelia Earhart


For our November Teacher Spotlight, we interviewed Melissa Havel.

What grade(s) are you currently teaching?

I teach 10th graders STEM Biology and Marine Biology to 11th and 12th graders.  

What do you enjoy most about teaching science?

I love getting students excited about the environment and our amazing planet. I love the ocean and I lead a field trip where students sail on San Francisco Bay and watching students see a whale or experience being on a boat for the first time is awesome!

What do you enjoy the least?

I love everything about science but the thing I like least about teaching is dealing with challenging student behavior. 

What’s your favorite element?

I don’t really have a favorite element, but I have a favorite compound, H20.

What do you love most about working at San Marin?

The Science Department! We have such an awesome staff and I love working with everybody in our department.

Do you remember your first class? What was it like?

I definitely remember my first year at San Marin…I taught two Marine Bio classes and we fundraised all year for the sailing trip. We decided to have a rummage sale and students brought stuff into my classroom for weeks…I had to put a tarp over everything because students would always want to play with the toys. We spent a lot of time together, raised the money we needed and had a great field trip!

What’s your most memorable teaching moment?

I received an e-mail from a former student a couple of weeks ago letting me know my Marine Bio class helped shape the course of her life…she was currently working in environmental education and hoped to make it a career. It was honestly one of the highlights of my teaching career and it was so nice to be thanked. If you have a teacher that made a positive impact on you, let them know! It was one of the best e-mails I have ever received and I am so grateful that student reached out to me!

What was your favorite subject in High School?

I had an amazing Honors Biology teacher and Physics teacher and I loved both of those classes. My science teachers inspired my love of science and were the main reason I majored in science in college.

What was your least favorite subject in High School?


What’s your favorite thing to do outside of San Marin?

Sail, run, hike, play with my new puppy, read, do home renovation projects. 

What’s one weird or interesting fact that people might not know about you?

I try to make daily life an adventure…that’s one of the reasons I recently purchased an electric bicycle. I wanted to challenge myself to get to work in an sustainable manner, but also make it fun. If you are thinking about an electric bike…do it! It has been so much fun and I’m already hooked on it!  

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