Skip to main content

Jen Torline

Science Department Chair & Upper School Science Teacher
B.S. Chemistry, Xavier University
M.Ed. Secondary Education, Xavier Univesity

Teaching philosophy

Important skills I want to teach my students

I strive to teach my students to become critical thinkers. It is my hope that they gain confidence in examining a problem and in developing appropriate approaches to address the problem. This is also an important year to develop laboratory skills and learn to work together more effectively in a cooperative setting with others. It is my hope that students leave my course with a greater understanding of the physical world and the wonders of chemical phenomena.

Teaching methods that reach these goals

I believe the best way to learn science is to be doing science. Hands-on activities, demonstrations, and laboratory work are examples of how chemistry is synthesized from a series of concepts to applicable examples students can experience for themselves. I enjoy the flexibility our schedule allows to employ problem-based learning, active assessments, and POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) activities as just a few of the many methods to meet the varied needs of my learners. Finally, my favorite “method” is found in those unplanned moments in the classroom when a student brings up an example that he or she has heard about in the news or experienced for himself or herself, that creates discussion on the topic we are studying; this is what makes chemistry interesting and applicable to my students, and excites me as an educator.

My favorite projects

We have many labs that I too often refer to as one of my “favorites,” and a couple projects that stand out as examples of how well students take them beyond the initial scope of the project. For example, the “Atomic Case Study” project involves each group defending the validity of an atomic theorist’s views based upon the time period in which he did his research. The students lead the class in the primary instruction of the unit as they mount their defense, and the creativity and depth with which the presentations are prepared is exemplary.

What I like best about teaching at Seven Hills

From my first visit here, it was clear that Seven Hills was an inviting and warm community. The level of mutual respect, support, and encouragement among the faculty, staff and students is unparalleled. I am continually impressed with how diligently my students work, and the ownership they have assumed at this point in their education, being willing to seek extra help when warranted. I am constantly amazed at all that the students manage so well, and the rich lives they lead outside of the academic day, both in extracurricular activities as well as their community involvement.