Renee Sang

Mr. Travis Pilch teaches biology students with hands-on activities.

Katherine Lachcik, Copy Editor

Since 2002, Mr. Travis Pilch has taught several classes here at Seminole, including Biology 1, Pre-Diploma Programme (Pre-DP) Biology 1, and summer school sessions of Chemistry 1 Honors. This year, like the year before, Pilch teaches IB, SL, and HL Biology for juniors and seniors.

Born and raised in Salem, Ohio, Pilch earned his Bachelor of the Sciences (BS) in Biology and Bachelor of the Arts (BA) in German at Ohio University in 1998. Later, he earned his Master of the Arts degree (MA) in Biology Education (2004) and his Education Specialist (EdS) in Biology Education (2012) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Presently, Pilch is working on receiving his doctorate in education at UCF in addition to his regular teaching job here at SHS.

With regard to managing his time between teaching and his own studying, Pilch says, “Working with students at SHS is fun and rewarding and my top priority. My graduate work fits in whenever I make time for it. That’s possible because I finished all my coursework, and writing a dissertation does not require attending class.”

Each year, Pilch aims to teach his classes creatively with his students’ best interests at heart, regardless of the course.

Junior Anna Jurlina says, “Mr. Pilch is more of a hands-on teacher, allowing us to perform labs and even brings in his cats for us to study genetics. [He] is my favorite teacher.”

“Fitting two years of rigorous material into seven months in a fashion agreeable and favorable to students is a challenge I face every year. I like to focus on making connections to students’ prior knowledge and finding interesting and practical and meaningful connections to real life, which isn’t too difficult since Biology is the study of life,” says Pilch.

Aside from teaching and studying, Pilch enjoys being outdoors in deciduous forests in autumn, and also has a 15 feet tall pipe organ in his living room with nearly 400 pipes. While he was a student at Ohio University, Pilch was one of a handful of classical organ performance students. Now a teacher, Pilch strives to make his classes unique and appealing to his students.

Junior Mujahid Jaffer says, “Mr. Pilch’s class is very interesting and he uses a variety of techniques to teach us such as handouts and labs. [He] makes the lessons more interactive such as looking through microscopes and having classwide labs.”

Pertaining to ensuring his students’ success, Pilch says, “I do not teach. I help students learn… learning is an active mental process the student must conduct.  I can only encourage the student and help streamline the process and increase their efficiency.  And as long as I remain a classroom learning leader, not a teacher, my experiences will continue to be fresh and rich and fun, year after year.”

A teacher, student, and familiar face to the student body and faculty, Pilch succeeds in managing his own time and efforts for both himself and his students at SHS.