The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Staff Profile: Sara Shayesteh encourages student growth

Carlmonts+AP+Biology+teacher%2C+Sara+Shayesteh%2C+spends+the+school+year+guiding+her+students+through+the+difficult+curriculum+in+preparation+for+the+AP+exam.+Through+a+combination+of+lectures+and+inquiry+packets%2C+Shayestehs+course+utilizes+multiple+strategies+to+help+students+of+all+learning+styles.
Hailee Byun
Carlmont’s AP Biology teacher, Sara Shayesteh, spends the school year guiding her students through the difficult curriculum in preparation for the AP exam. Through a combination of lectures and inquiry packets, Shayesteh’s course utilizes multiple strategies to help students of all learning styles.

Throughout the school year, many students prepare for a wide variety of Advanced Placement (AP) exams, one of which is AP Biology. Sara Shayesteh, Carlmont’s AP Biology teacher, emphasizes the importance of student curiosity as she prepares her students to take the exam.

However, Shayesteh wasn’t initially planning to be a teacher. After getting her degree in science, Shayesteh spent a few years doing lab work and research. Every day after work, she would volunteer and help high school kids with science at a nearby tutoring center, which was where her love for teaching originated.  

“I enjoyed the science, but I just wasn’t getting those interactions, which led me to tutoring. After a year of tutoring, I realized that it was more fun than my actual job,” Shayesteh said.

Shayesteh then went back to graduate school to get her master’s degree and teaching credentials. She started as a student teacher at Woodside High School before getting her teaching credentials, and from there, she taught at El Camino High School for seven years before coming to Carlmont in 2016.

“I knew I wanted to teach science, but I wasn’t sure which science because I had majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry, and I really enjoyed both,” Shayesteh said.

At El Camino High School, Shayesteh partnered with Genentech to start a biotechnology program. Upon arriving at Carlmont, Shayesteh continued teaching Biotechnology, as well as Biology. Then, Shayesteh received the opportunity to teach AP Biology.

“I had never taught it before so I was a little nervous to teach it, but I thought, ‘Okay let’s give it a try.’ And after my first year, I fell in love with it. It’s become my favorite thing to teach,” Shayesteh said.

Shayesteh believes that AP Biology is a course that relies heavily on student investigation of topics and is most effective as a collaborative class. 

Ms. Shayesteh’s style of teaching allows students to investigate and understand concepts themselves, so a lot of the difficult concepts, like cellular respiration and mitosis, were simplified as we learned by exploring the topics. She is also an incredibly supportive teacher when it comes to answering students’ questions, and she definitely makes sure that everyone feels comfortable asking for help,” said Samina Ginwalla, a past AP Biology student and the co-president of the AP Biology Club.

Although most classes involve students working together to figure out concepts, Shayesteh nonetheless makes sure that any of her students can come and ask her questions as well.

“Ms. Shayesteh does a really good job of explaining things to me whenever I get confused. She clarifies a lot of concepts I wouldn’t otherwise know,” said Krystal Li, a junior and AP Biology student.

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About the Contributor
Hailee Byun, Staff Writer
Hailee Byun is a junior at Carlmont and this is her second year as a staff writer for the Scot Scoop. She likes to keep up to date with current news around the world. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, baking, and going to the beach, and has an interest in climate advocacy. Instagram: @haileebyun Twitter: @_haileebyun

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