Author, humble, passionate, competitive, funny and full of grit are just a few words that can be used to describe Martin Luther science teacher, Chris Hathaway.
Mr. Hathaway is much more than just a science teacher at Martin Luther. While his courses include Design & Technology, Physics, and AP Physics, he also focuses on helping students through different clubs (Robotics & Astronomy) and is an enthusiastic competitor in sports. But Chris didn’t start out as a teacher – he started out as a laboratory research scientist. God’s plan is often unseen in the beginning and becomes more clear as it unfolds throughout the journey.
After Chris graduated with a BS in Physics and Astronomy, he began working as a scientist for SCOT industries. He was involved in research and found that this was not a true passion of his. Rather, he was more interested in using the sciences he was passionate about to help make it relevant to people every day. He remembers having an upbeat and always happy Physics teacher in high school. This teacher put everything he had into teaching. Chris wanted to be part of the science that was most like the real world and teach about every day experiences. So, he went back to school for his BSE in Physics.
While working at Martin Luther, he started working on his masters degree. His thesis, “Comparing Student Misconceptions in Physics with Defunct Scientific Philosophies,” utilized students in his classroom. His work and research was a significant part of a book published by his professor, “Deep Learning in Introductory Physics.”
Physics teachers have a tough task, as many students come into class with a preconceived notion of how they view force and motion. It is fair to say that changing the way students think is not easy. Teachers are very dedicated and utilize many creative forms of teaching in helping students to learn the material. Often after the exam, students revert to their original form of thinking by the end of the school year.
In the conclusion of his thesis, Chris states, “If teachers wish to better understand the misconceptions of their students, they should read up a little on how Galileo saw the world. Students seem to have much more in common with his philosophies than those of Newton, or any other scientist for that matter.”
While Chris is often thought of as a science nerd, he has an even bigger competitive side. His parents were a huge influence on his life. From an early age, his dad taught him to have GRIT and never give up. Whether in sports or academics, the message was the same – work your tail off and do what you need to do.
Chris races competitively and recently made his goal of running a 5K under twenty minutes. He finished the Pumpkin Run (pictured) in 19.23. He also competes in 3 on 3 basketball tournaments over the summers. Sometimes it’s easy to see what is in front of us and miss the actual person. Chris sets a great example for his students and is passionate about sharing Jesus and science with anyone he meets.
His advice, “Have GRIT. Don’t give up and don’t make excuses. God gave you an amazing body with amazing talents and untold potential. Don’t waste it. Praise Him by using your talents to their fullest whether that is in the classroom, on the stage, or in athletics.”
What a blessing it is to have teachers like Mr. Hathaway pouring into our students each and every day as they discover their identity in Christ and who he has made each of them to be.