Mr. Collier sharing his passion for science and education

TOWAMENCIN- Being a teacher is not just a job, it’s a passion. For people who want to be teachers, one of their main goals is to leave an impact on people through education and for North Penn High School Physics and Chemistry teacher John Collier, that’s exactly why he became a teacher.

Collier went to Arcadia University where he got his bachelors and masters degrees in environmental education. He also took the certifications for all the sciences that were offered.

“Science and math were always things I excelled at but it wasn’t until my junior and senior year of high school where I got really involved in my high school’s environmental group which sparked a passion for both education and science,” mentioned Collier.

Before he became a teacher at North Penn, Collier was involved in organizing summer camps for students and had an internship where he taught elementary students.

Collier discovered his interest in environmental education when he learned about the impact humans had on the environment and how negative the impact was at times. But at the same time, he saw the positive influences humans were able to have through education.

“It’s sort of like seeing the worst and best in humanity almost side by side. You see the inspiration that a child takes from digging in a pond and seeing what bugs are there and also finding trash in that pond from humans. Seeing both of those side by side made me really want to do something about it,” said Collier.

Collier began teaching at Penndale Middle School where he taught 9th grade physical science. He was there for ten years until he moved up to North Penn High School where he began teaching chemistry and physics. Since then, he’s been teaching at the highschool for three years.

“Most of my fond memories come from positive student interaction. Once I had a student who was not into school and he was really into music and I’m also really into music. He was going to play with his band at the school’s talent show. I don’t even remember how exactly this combination of things came up but I have a full size Pikachu costume at my house and I ended up on stage with them dressed as Pikachu while they were doing their performance. Everyday after that he was so much more engaged in class,” recalled Collier.

Throughout his teaching career, Collier has learned to be more open-minded about the wide variety of people there are in the world.

“I think as a student, you’re very often put with students that are very similar to you. But as a teacher, you get to see the entire thing the world has to offer and by being responsible for teaching all those different types of people, it opens you up to understanding how different people can be and how different their needs are,” said Collier.

Enact club also takes up a big part in Collier’s life. He’s been the advisor all throughout his teaching career.

“I’ve had a very positive experience with the last couple years of Enact club students and the work that we’ve done getting this nature center going and building this community event that we’re working on,” mentioned Collier.

North Penn High School’s Enact club encourages students to leave a positive impact on their local communities.

“I think that’s one of the best things you can do for the environment—start local,” said Collier.

Collier emphasizes how he may not have all the resources to do all the good for the environment but as an educator, he has the ability to influence others to make a change. He also hopes that through Enact, he inspires students to act consciously and maybe go into careers for environmental subjects.

He not only contributes as an environmentalist through education but also through personal life choices like becoming a vegan and vegetarian.

“When I was in high school first learning about a lot of environmental issues, one of the things that came across my path was the environmental impacts of the meat industry. Sometime during junior or senior year, I became a vegetarian realizing that if we reduced the amount of meat we consume, we reduce the need we have for farmland devoted to raising cattle specifically. Then in college, I got more into the animal rights side of being vegetarian and vegan and I cared a lot about the cruelty that goes on in those sectors and so I was vegan for that. At some point, that just became too difficult to uphold and my convictions weren’t quite as strong specifically in the dairy industry and I went back to being just vegetarian. But I’m still vegetarian today and most of my reasons still are surrounding the environment. It’s also just from a sort of science point of view, from an energy standpoint, you have to put a lot of energy into raising an animal and if you eat the food that the animal would eat instead, it’s more efficient,” said Collier

As for the other side of his personal life, Collier played in bands for year and enjoys writing and recording music. He also loves reading books and comics and playing video games as he enjoys the strong narratives they have to offer.

Collier cherishes the conversations he has with students. They’re the things that make him more understanding of other people.

“I think there is something special about youth where the energy they bring and the point of view they bring is refreshing to a conversation,” said Collier.