Todd Schaap is one of the teachers that students hope to get during the sophomore year. I talked with him to find out some of his craziest stories in his classes and some of the things freshmen can look forward to.
Schaap has been teaching at Meadows and has been teaching science for all of those years. He teaches Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Physics and Physical Science.
“My favorite part of teaching is laughing with students and getting to know them,” Schaap said. “Consider teaching 21 years and getting to meet 150 new students a year. I have had the opportunity to get to learn from about 3,200 students. I hope I have impacted them as positively as they have impacted me.”
Schaap comes from a family where science was a regular in the household. His father happened to be a chemistry teacher as well and that influenced his decision in following his father’s footsteps.
“He was always so excited about his job and that influenced me to explore teaching,” Schaap said. “Plus I like blowing things up.”
Speaking of blowing things up, Schaap has had some crazy moments here at RMHS. He recalls a time a few years ago on the coldest day of the year when his actions made the fire alarm go off on a -24.2°F day.
“I was trying to do a cool gummy bear explosion inside the fume hood to reward the students that actually came to school that day,” Schaap said. “The fume hood fan started to pull the fumes up and then froze it and the fumes bellowed into the classroom causing the alarm.”
He’s also had some times outside of school while coaching the golf team for RMHS. His favorite moment comes from the one and only conference championship in school history.
“The team was going crazy,” Schaap said. “We had a BBQ at my house to celebrate and had a wiffle ball tourney in my cul-de-sac.”
However, his class isn’t just about the fun times and crazy moments, it’s about science. He wants everyone to be able to learn the subject but also learn about each other.
“In my class, students can expect to learn not just the subject but learn about each other and what makes us all add to the culture of the classroom,”Schaap said.
For kids looking into the field of science, he wanted kids to learn what science is really about not just the stereotypes.
“Science is not just some old white guy doing experiments by himself in a lab with crazy hair and a lab coat,” Schaap said. “In the field of science, we need a diverse collaboration to truly learn about ourselves and the world around us.”
Schaap has had a lot of classes in his tenure here at RMHS and to him, not one class has changed him. It was more of the individuals in his class that have taught him something.
“Each individual student in my class is a blessing and is there to teach me something about my life,” Schaap said. “That is what I love about this job.”
Sophomore Luke Bieda had a lot to say about Schaap and his work as a Chemistry teacher. Bieda really likes the way Schaap incorporates everyone in the class.
“He really brightens your day,” Bieda said. “He gets everyone involved in his class. A lot of times I’ve been impressed with the ways he can really get to the kids using the metaphors and really get them to learn the material.”
When Bieda got his schedule, he was excited to have Schaap as a teacher. He knew that he was one of the best teachers in the school according to the kids that already have had him.
“Oh yeah, I was super excited to have Schaap as a teacher,” Bieda said. “My siblings have told me stories about him and sometimes they weren’t even in his class. It makes it even better that I have friends in that class as well.”
Another student, sophomore Aidan Watson was also very fond of Schaap. He loves the way Schaap helps every student if they have trouble with the material.
“It’s really good to know that I can walk into his seminar or walk up to him in class and not be frightened to talk to him,” Watson said. “He’s one of those guys that I know I can talk to in and out of school.”
Watson even has gained a nickname from Schaap after the Barker Lake experiment.
“Yeah, me and a couple friends were taking pictures by the lake and Schaap saw this and started calling us the Nature Boys,” Watson said. “It’s always funny when we’re in class and he says one of the Nature Boys answer this question.”
For Schaap, he thinks he can keep doing this. He loves the kids and loves the material, but already has a plan after it’s all over.
“I’ll keep teaching until I retire and then I will do something else like become a chef and own my own restaurant with a chemistry theme,” Schaap said.