Biology teacher applies real life skills to class

Traci Murphy has been a science teacher in Shorewood for four years. Originally from New Jersey, she has lived in several states including Vermont, New York, Kansas, Washington State and Wisconsin. 

Murphy went to high school in New Jersey at Saint Rose High School in Belmar where her biology teacher, Sister Karen, inspired her to have the profession she has today. 

“There are times when I actually do things that I saw her do in the classroom many years ago,” Murphy said. “She was awesome.”

Attending St. Michael’s College in Vermont, Murphy double majored in Biology and Secondary Education. Now, she’s working towards gaining her master’s degree.

Murphy continuously adjusts the way her classroom functions in order to properly fit the needs of her individual classes. She strives to instill confidence in her students so they can succeed and hopes to integrate real life knowledge into classroom activities. Murphy believes the way a subject is taught can greatly affect a student’s level of interest for the rest of their life.

“I want ninth grade biology to be a positive and exciting experience because it sets the tone for your scientific career in high school,” Murphy said.

 She appreciates that the Shorewood administration allows her to adapt the way content is taught depending on the students in each class.

“What I love specifically about working here at Shorewood is that our administration trusts us to teach our content how we see best fit for our students. It allows me to be creative and allows me to change how I’m teaching the instructed content if I don’t think they’re working.”

I want ninth grade biology to be a positive and exciting experience…

— Traci Murphy, science teacher

Murphy values creating bonds and connecting with her students. Not only does this help her understand how to better teach her students, but it also brings that level of confidence she hopes to give them. She wants students to feel acknowledged and understand that she tries to tailor every activity to correspond to the kind of class she has.

“I feel engaged and she always keeps our best interest in mind,” said Lina Burns, freshman. “She even practices labs and activities beforehand to make sure they will work for the class and be as engaging as possible.”

Besides her passion for biology, Murphy has other interests as well. She loves to read, run, and spend time with her husband and four children. She has many pets, including her dog Humphrey and her three cats, Toothless, Hiccup, and Echo. When in her classroom, you can visit her fish, hermit crabs, and bearded dragon named Charlie. 

Murphy studies and teaches aspects of real life and passes that knowledge to her students, valuing how people treat living things. She is the advisor of the Sunrise Movement Club, a club focused on taking action related to climate change. She is also advisor to the newly created Red Cross Club which is centered on volunteering and helping out those in need.

I feel engaged and she always keeps our best interest in mind.

— Lina Burns, freshman

Both of the clubs are incredibly important for students to instill that curiosity and passion. For example, climate change and taking care of the climate because we need to take care of our Earth,” explained Murphy.

A significant goal is to make her biology class memorable and influential. She hopes her students will take away something from the course and apply it outside of the classroom, or even gain a further interest in science.

“One of my goals is to make students curious or to encourage students to be curious so that they will ask questions and be excited, so then they continue down their scientific path,” Murphy said. “I’m trying to instill in them a passion for science through biology so that they will continue moving forward.”