When you walk past Room 804, you might spot a red-haired, freckled face woman dancing around her classroom. She may be typing up a presentation or planning a lab for one of her many classes. She may even remind you of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. But, what you may not know is that she is a nature loving, ex-rebel kid, third year teacher who just wants to improve the lives of her students. The resident of 804 is Ms. Amy Connor and her story may be a little more interesting than you might think.
Before she realized her potential as a high school science teacher, Ms. Connor was a seasoned artist—specifically a painter—who taught little kids how to express themselves through arts and crafts. Ten years after that experience and managing an art gallery, Ms. Connor developed a sickness to which no one could quite figure out what was going on, including her mother, who was a nurse. Many fainting spells occurred, the last one of which made her fall on the floor and break her jaw and teeth. When she went to the hospital, the doctors, again, could not figure out what was going on until the well-researched Ms. Connor told them to check her PTH (parathyroid hormone) levels. This led them to finding a parathyroid adenoma in her body. Parathyroid adenomas are benign tumors that occupy your parathyroid glands, which can be located near or at the back of your thyroid gland. Ms. Connor went from professional artist, to case study at the National Institute of Health, to being tumor free with no medical bills. “After my surgery I started a new lease on life,” she said.
“I started reading about science all the time, I wanted to do something that really mattered,” Ms. Connor explained. She left her decade long career as an artist and pursued a degree in biochemistry. “I wanted to study biochemistry because that is what makes life work, the nuts and bolts.” She also choose not to obtain a PhD. “I needed not to be a student anymore, I wanted people to be able to advocate for themselves, and ask the right questions. Being a science teacher is the most important subject I can teach.”
Not many people would guess Ms. Connor is in her third year of teaching. How does she do it? “I enjoy what I am doing, it gives you confidence. I am around people I like to be around and I have a good time doing what I do.” She also relates to kids who are new because she went through something similar. “When I was a kid, I moved to Florida and totally became a total mess—I was the opposite of who I am now. I wish I would have taken the time to connect with peers, teachers, or even anyone. Build your own relationships, and do not handle the stress on your own.”
She survived a move to Florida, a tumor, and decided to use her newly earned degree and knowledge to teach teenagers at seven o’clock in the morning. “My kids motivate me, I get really excited to see my students everyday, they are part of my family,” Ms. Connor explained. “I want all my students to know that everything I say about their futures is true. I fully believe every single one of my students truly has the ability to do great things. They can each contribute positively to the community and the world and accomplish amazing things.”