Sabercat Stories: Carol Seemueller

Carol+Seemueller%2C+and+her+dog+Venus%2C+love+spending+time+together.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Sabercat Stories: Carol Seemueller

Carol Seemueller, and her dog Venus, love spending time together.

Carol Seemueller, and her dog Venus, love spending time together.

Seemueller

Carol Seemueller, and her dog Venus, love spending time together.

Seemueller

Seemueller

Carol Seemueller, and her dog Venus, love spending time together.

Anna Henning, Activities Beat Leader

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Throughout the course of a school year, teacher and student relationships have the opportunity to grow as the whole class gets to know each other. Even with semester-long classes, a class dynamic is still created and students are able to build relationships with their teachers. However, when students have a substitute, it is harder to get to know them in the little time students have with the teacher.

Carol Seemueller, a substitute with a long science background, is currently filling in for Jennifer Bekken, as she is on maternity leave. Seemueller has been teaching Earth Systems Science (ESS) and Pre-AP Biology at Fossil Ridge High School since a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving break started. Seemueller made the decision to come out of retirement and return to teaching to take on this job, and she has enjoyed the opportunity so far. Although students only see her for a few hours a week, her story goes far beyond the information she teaches in class.

Back when she was in high school herself, Seemueller never expected she would become a teacher. She considers herself “an introvert at heart,” and the idea of getting in front of a group of students was terrifying. However, a few things began to change her mind, leading her on a path to become an educator. Seemueller first began to look at teaching differently when she observed a student teacher in a public school. After growing up in private school, the change of environment seemed like an interesting place to work. Later, Seemueller had to teach a lab in college, and her instructor noticed her potential in teaching. Her instructor thought she was good at explaining things and very passionate about what she was teaching. With time, Seemueller realized that education really was the right career for her.

Seemueller began teaching science at Blevins Middle School in Fort Collins, teaching there for five years. Then, in search of something different, she left teaching for nine years. Seemueller went back to college in Denver to get her graduate’s degree in genetics and microbiology. After her time in grad school, she continued on to medical school, hoping to get a license as a Doctor of Medicine (MD). With one year remaining of school to get her MD, Seemueller decided to take a leave of absence to take a break from school and think a few things over. During this time, she got asked to attend an interview at Rocky Mountain High School. Seemueller made a difficult decision to leave medical school, wanting to instead find more stability in her life by returning to teaching.

Teaching high school was a new experience for Seemueller. She had never taught older teenagers, and she fell in love with the environment. Her favorite part of teaching is building relationships with students and watching them grow. She said, “As teenagers, there’s so much going on. I hope to be helping explore different subjects, but also learning about yourself.” She taught at Rocky for 26 years before retirement. She taught AP Biology for the majority of her time there, as well as many unique science subjects. She enjoyed teaching classes in anatomy and physiology, which she thought she was a great fit for due to her medical background.

Just let yourself loose on the world, and experience as much as you can before you narrow [your career] down.”

— Carol Seemueller

As a person who has learned a lot from choosing a career, Seemueller believes high school is a wonderful opportunity to learn what individuals are interested in. She hopes students take the time to find a career right for them, suggesting, “Take advantage of as many different classes and interests as you can. Explore hobbies. Sometimes I worry that students narrow it down too quickly. They say, I’m going to be a doctor, or I’m going to be a lawyer, but they haven’t really looked at all the possibilities that are out there. Through taking a variety of courses and pursuing a variety of hobbies, you will find your career. Just let yourself loose on the world, and experience as much as you can before you narrow it down.”

Following her work at Rocky, Seemueller retired and has been able to enjoy a variety of her hobbies. She loves all things outdoors, exploring nature through hiking, backpacking, and scuba diving. In fact, Seemueller first got into scuba diving because of a student she once had. The student won a trip to dive to an underwater research lab in Florida Keys, and could bring a sponsor along. After doing her first dive, Seemueller has continued on to do many more dives, and has been doing it for about 15 years now.

Seemueller continues to grow her curiosity for the earth through reading books about nature, bird-watching, and traveling. She considers herself a “birder” and loves to go out with her binoculars to look at and identify birds. Retirement has given her numerous opportunities to travel as well; she’s gone to places such as Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia.

Beyond exploring nature, Seemueller enjoys raising Golden Retriever puppies. She loves the whole process of watching them grow up and mature. She says, “I love having the puppies, and carefully raising them, and finding their homes.”

Another important part of Seemueller’s life is her family. She recently celebrated her fortieth wedding anniversary with her husband. Seemueller has three sons, all of whom are between the ages of 30 and 35. She fondly remembers being their teacher at some point or another, as she was the only science teacher for some subjects.

When asked how her experience was with coming out of retirement to teach again, Seemueller described it as “shocking.” It was a whole new experience for her to go back to so much structure, a strict schedule, and getting up early. She gets up at around five in the morning to prepare for the day. She found teaching to be far more exhausting than she remembered it being, as she puts a lot of energy into her lessons.

Additionally, the experience has been new for Seemueller as she has never taught ESS before. She was anxious to teach the new subject, wanting to explain it well to her students so they could understand it properly. Seemueller took a lot of time and care to make sure students have the best learning environment possible. She puts a lot of extra work in to make sure she knows the material really well before teaching it. Students probably do not even realize how much effort she puts into the class, as she comes prepared every day. She said, “That unit on the geosphere was fascinating, but I really needed to learn everything I was teaching about the plate boundaries and earthquakes. So, I was spending a lot of time outside of class so that I could come in and help guide [the students] through that.”

Overall, Seemueller has had a wonderful time teaching at Fossil. She has been impressed by students’ willingness to learn from her and their cooperation. Despite not being their regular teacher, she feels like she is treated with respect, and feels support from both students and teachers here.

Beyond science, it is important to Bekken that students learn about kindness in her classroom. Seemueller wants to continue to value that in the classroom, and to have a good class dynamic. She also hopes students will find an excitement and passion for learning from her enthusiasm. Her goal is to show the importance of learning. She hopes that students “learn to love to learn” by “being open to lots of different ideas, putting yourself out there, taking risks, and always being open to meeting new people.”

Although Seemueller was planning on leaving Fossil at the end of the semester, she is returning for a few more weeks in January. Bekken needed a little more time with her newborn, and therefore Seemueller has come back once more. After finishing her time at Fossil, Seemueller will be a substitute for a week at Fort Collins High School. Beyond that, she does not have any further teaching plans. She is planning a trip to Hawaii in a month, where she is looking forward to seeing whales during their migration and swimming with sea turtles.

Students have gotten to know Seemueller for a little over a month, and she will be leaving soon. She has put hours of work in outside of school to keep Bekken’s class going, even in Bekken’s absence. She has loved the experience of teaching at Fossil, and hopes to continue to encourage learning for as long as she stays.