The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Choosing the right path – Woodside Chemistry teacher Zachary Larsen

Woodside High Schools Chemistry teacher Mr. Larsen posing for a picture with his son.

This year marks the fifth year of teaching at Woodside for chemistry teacher Zachary Larsen.

Before working at Woodside, Larsen worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Larsen explained how he did not enjoy his career while working there for about 15 years. After those 15 years, he decided to become a substitute teacher to figure out if he enjoyed the environment. 

“I spent a year subbing and what I found was I really liked working with students, and especially with high school students,” Larsen said.

Larsen then went back to school and got his graduate degree. He was surprised that he enjoyed teaching because as a child he never expected himself to be in a career of the sort.

“When I was growing up, I was like: ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do when I grow up. But I know one thing for sure and that’s that I’m never going to be a teacher,’” Larsen said. “Then here I am.”

After getting his Graduate Degree he went through the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) where students striving to be teachers get put into classrooms along with another teacher to get experience in a real classroom environment. As a student teacher, he taught alongside Anne Akey, a Woodside science teacher next door to his classroom.

“I applied for the job and got the classroom right next door to my mentor teacher, which is kind of crazy honestly,” Larsen said. “The same area, the same school, literally right next door, which is pretty cool.”

Larsen believes the process of finding a job you are passionate about should take time and is not easy.

“I did not figure out what I wanted to actually do until I was almost 40 years old,” Larsen said. “If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not happy and you don’t like what you’re doing, which is what happened to me, it’s okay to quit something. I’m not advocating for people to give up on everything, but it’s okay to quit. Life’s too short to do something you hate your whole life.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All comments should be attached to your real name and email—we do NOT accept anonymous comments. Comments will only be published if they engage substantively and respectfully with the points of an article.
All The Paw Print Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *