Chemistry teacher Rebecca Firoved’s love for teaching came later in life

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Photo by Jake Dolan

Chemistry teacher Rebecca Firoved watches over her homeroom on Dec. 20.

Previously a lab-working chemistry enthusiast, Rebecca Firoved embodies values of teaching through experience. Firoved’s favorite subject in school has always been science and a teacher named Mrs. McMullan was the driving force behind that. Two subjects she always enjoyed in particular were chemistry and biochemistry. 

She left high school knowing that she wanted to pursue higher education to work for a pharmaceutical research company. That all changed when she went to college and discovered her true passion. 

I was very surprised at how college chemistry and biochemistry had students only working in the labs and how little interaction they had with teaching.”

— Rebecca Firoved

Firoved’s first interest in working at a pharmaceutical company involved working in labs. However, while attending college she began gaining interest in teaching. “I was very surprised at how college chemistry and biochemistry had students only working in the labs and how little interaction they had with teaching,” Firoved said.

Before moving into teaching, Firoved worked in the biochemistry field at NIH. She worked in an Anthrax lab, where she met her husband and got to know him through the work they did together. Eventually, she moved to a different group at NIH, which focused on blood platelet research. “Even though I left high school knowing what I wanted to do, I was still open to the possibility of changing that as time went on,” Firoved said.

Teaching requires skills that develop through years of experience. Firoved has been teaching for around 15 years now and she has developed a system that allows students to seek help and learn valuable information needed to move forward in their science journey. “She is strict with boundaries and sets rational rules, which help us stay focused. Also, she gives us opportunities to prepare for tests by preparing assignments that help us study for the coming tests so that we can stay on track,” sophomore Ted Soldatov said.

Teaching isn’t Firoved’s number one priority; she also has a family to look over and Covid-19 made this task even more difficult. According to Frontiersin.org, parents of children between the ages 2-12, the age group Firoved’s children fall into, tended to have a harder time during the Covid 19 quarantine period. Fortunately, the vaccine for children of the ages 5-11 came out on Nov. 2. “Before my kids got the vaccine I was nervous about sending them to school. Both of my kids are getting their vaccines now, which makes me feel like they can be more safe,” Firoved said.

Covid-19 has made family outings difficult due to the rate at which the virus spreads. “As a family during winter break we used to go to Hershey Park and enjoy the break there. We are hoping once the virus decreases in numbers and more people get vaccinated, that we can resume the old tradition,” Firoved said.