When student teacher Natalie Belsito took the opportunity to work alongside the biology teachers here at FHC, she had no idea that she’d be working in the same building as a relative of hers.
“My cousin is [Andrew Belsito, the online teacher],” Belsito said. “That’s the only person in my family that is a teacher. My parents and sister are both in business, [and] my other sister works in entertainment, so there’s really no [other] teachers in my family.”
Unlike her fellow teacher cousin who works with kids in a more variegated online setting, Belsito has decided to surround herself with everything science.
Belsito is a Forest Hills Northern Husky at heart, but she is still thrilled to experience the FHC Ranger life. After graduating from Central Michigan University, Belsito entered right back into the school system to pursue her love of teaching and engaging with students.
However, teaching was not always Belsito’s first choice. She stepped into college as a conservation major, which included performing a lot of field research, but she realized the isolating nature of that work was not how she was meant to fulfill her purpose.
“I realized that I think I’d enjoy my career more if I was in a [class]room,” Belsito said, “and got to share [my] passion for learning with people, helping them see why it’s cool or why it’s interesting.”
And Belsito didn’t choose to work with high school students by accident.
“I get along more with older kids,” Belsito said. “I really want to be able to share [lessons] and teach people, and elementary and high school are different levels. I like little kids, but I don’t know if I’d be the best to work with them.”
Sitting in on some of the biology staff’s classes, Belsito has been able to observe and learn some teaching techniques that will help her be successful in her own classroom in the near future.
Regular and AP Biology teacher Patti Richardson in particular has been a stellar role model for Belsito to look up to.
“[Richardson] is so confident,” Belsito said. “I think confidence is the biggest thing; she knows what she’s doing, and she knows science really well. That’s something I want to work to be better at—engaging [with] and [commanding the class]. She has such a good flow to her [teaching], which is something I’d love to have; she never loses her train of thought.”
While employing the lessons she’s learned from experienced teachers, Belsito also has the advantage of being able to relate to the students, as she was in their shoes more recently than most teachers in the building.
Like most high schoolers, while Belsito didn’t love every aspect of school, she found enjoyment in the social aspect of interacting with peers and others who share her interests.
“I know generations change and people change,” Belsito said. “[High schoolers now] are so different from what high schoolers were when I was in high school even though I know it was such a tiny difference [in age]—people change. Being able to match that [change] and be a really good teacher for those that really need it and those that are good at school too, I think that’s my biggest [goal to work toward].”
Belsito’s passion for teaching science, in particular, stems from some of her own experiences with science classes in high school, and above all else, she wants to be able to give that experience to students who come through her room.
“I wasn’t the best at science in high school, but I really liked it,” Belsito said. “But sometimes I didn’t have the people there to help break it down for me, and I just really wanted to learn it. So I want to be someone that can help those kids that struggle and hate it or [want to] give up. Science is hard, but it doesn’t have to be.”