Newsmaker: Hull science teacher’s students win awards for environmental science work – The Patriot Ledger

The Patriot Ledger Newsmaker series tells the stories of interesting and in-the-news people from across the South Shore.

Name: Heather Weber

Age: 52

Hometown: Winchester Center, Conn.

In the news: Weber recently led a group of students who won seed bookmarks after participating in the state Department of Environmental Protection’s “Green Team” education program.

Now you know: Weber used to work as a swim instructor and lifeguard alongside her dad, who was the director of a pool at the Renbrook School Summer Adventure Camp in Connecticut.

Her story: When Heather Weber was in the second grade, she wrote a letter to herself in which she said she would become a special education teacher one day. Although life initially took her down a different path as a physical therapist, she eventually found her way as a middle school science teacher.

Weber ended up following in the footsteps of her parents and her sister, who are also teachers, she said. 

Sixth grade teacher Heather Weber at Memorial Middle School in Hull.

Weber said that in a way, she was always teaching in some capacity. Her job as a physical therapist allowed her to help people with brain injuries. 

Weber’s teaching career began around 2007, when she homeschooled a local child for four years before she began substitute teaching. She switched to being a substitute to have the same schedule as her five school-aged kids. She now primarily teaches science and social studies to sixth graders at Memorial Middle School in Hull.

Weber said her favorite part of being a teacher is working with the students.

“I love them,” Weber said. “And I love to be able to share knowledge with them.” 

Recently, a handful of Weber’s students won prizes for their part in a statewide environmental science program called the “Green Team.” The educational program is led by the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The students received seed bookmarks as prizes, and they took the bookmarks home to plant the seeds in their backyards.

Weber said she started working with her school’s Green Team about four years ago alongside another science teacher, and took on full responsibility of the team last year. She said she has always had a passion for protecting the environment.

“My children, when they were young, we have a park right near us and one of their consequences was that I would send them to the park with bags and they would have to remove litter,” Weber said.

She said her family has always done beach cleanups and recycles.

“In the past five years, I definitely have amped up my motivation to become more and more sustainable,” Weber said. 

Before the holiday break last year, the Green Team students organized a challenge to collect over 700 returnable bottles and cans before they left for break in three weeks. The students ended up collecting over 1,000 bottles and cans to redeem and donated the proceeds to the Hull Seaside Animal Rescue.

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The group of students has also watched environmental documentaries, talked about recycling as a choice but not a solution, and created art projects to educate other students, Weber said. 

A challenge that Weber says she enjoys is figuring out how each of her students learns while keeping them engaged. Weber said it was challenging to keep kids engaged virtually through the pandemic, and said science “should be all hands on.”

“I find that definitely one of the main parts of teaching is to really get to know your student and build a relationship with them, because if they feel safe and comfortable with the classroom and the teacher, then they’re more apt to learn,” Weber said. 

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