Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

Chau Phan Mende – Science

September 9, 2020


Courtesy of Chau Phan Mende

Chau Phan Mende is a new science teacher at Lincoln who is optimistic about this years unique learning situation.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

There have been so many moments that inspired me to teach throughout my life, but one truth came to light this past year in my preservice teaching program. I realized how much I loved being a student, immersing myself in a learning environment and having the opportunity to learn new things. Learning, for me, is such a strong motivator, and it has led me over these years to take action, become an agent of change and advocate for environmental awareness.

The one thing that brings me so much joy and purpose is sharing experiences with people and connecting with them through learning together. 

I have been inspired by so many past and present teachers, and feel I am among giants. I have such high respect for them. So many of my teachers have believed in me and loved me for the person that I am and the person I am still becoming.


Where did your passion for science and STEM come from?

I can always remember being curious about nature and trying to figure out how things worked, how things were connected and how to create from scratch. I have always loved working with my hands.

When I studied chemistry in college, I chose it as a major because it had the most overlap with the other sciences. Even though STEM was not a focus in my studies, I have applied STEM to so many applications post-college and teaching with a STEM lens.

In the past, my passion for science was about knowing, but now the motivation comes from wanting to understand deeply about the nature of things and wondering about the history of science. As natural science invites us to think about and understand laws that can be predicted, I also hold to the social sciences that makes us think about human nature and social/environmental/global issues that cannot be easily explained or predicted. 


Why did you choose to teach at Lincoln?

I grew up in Portland and feel so lucky that my family chose to immigrate here instead of somewhere else. Portland is home.


What are you most looking forward to at Lincoln? 

In the near future, I look forward to being in a physical classroom again, meeting and talking with students and connecting with people with facial smiles, visual cues and hearing voices “live.”

In the meantime, I will settle for meeting students in the second best place: virtual classrooms and connecting with our imaginations. We will have to rethink and reimagine our learning spaces and believe we can still have optimal learning opportunities for every student. 

I look forward to hearing student discussions related to: patterns in physics, science phenomena, current scientific discoveries, curious scientists, past and present and student voices and choice projects.

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