Whether it’s one of her high school classes or middle school classes, Biology Subject Expert Teacher Dr. Isquith’s students are often on their feet working collaboratively on a project or lab. From creating a working set of lungs out of balloons and a 2-liter bottle to dissecting a sheep’s brain, Dr. Isquith’s classes are some of the most hands-on classes at school, which is one reason students love her!

We sat down with Dr. Isquith to learn more about her, what she loves to teach, and how she adapted her teaching in a pandemic. Read her full bio here.

What is your favorite topic of biology to teach high school students? Middle school students?

I love teaching high school students about heredity. I find it fascinating! I want my students to feel the same way. There is nothing better than to share your passion with them. Passion is contagious!

I love teaching my middle school students about the nervous system because we do many activities and play brain games. We do a lot of lab activities and projects during the school year, but my favorite is the one where they have to create their own board game about one of the body systems we have learned. The creativity I see is unbelievable!

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What do you enjoy about teaching high school-aged students? Middle school students?

I enjoy teaching high school students because they can apply the knowledge learned through the years. We can talk about concepts in-depth and do more elaborate labs. The interactions can be full of excitement and can amaze you! After all, we are helping them to start on their path to an exciting future with endless possibilities.

I enjoy teaching middle school students because they are curious, spontaneous, and love to learn. Their enthusiasm in class motivates me to be a better teacher and to continue working hard.

You also coach middle school basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Why is it important to nurture students’ passions outside the classroom?

I think the mind-body connection is very important and helps create a well-rounded student. We are not one-dimension individuals; we need to nurture students' passions, so they can find their way in life. In addition, I also enjoy knowing the students outside the classroom; it is another way to connect with them.

What makes BASIS Independent McLean a unique school? 
BASIS Independent McLean is unique because we encourage the students to work hard and to challenge themselves. And thanks to the quality of the faculty and the different backgrounds, students are exposed to different styles of teaching and activities that help them accomplish their goals.

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How has the pandemic changed the way you teach? [BASIS Independent McLean utilized a hybrid model for grades 4-12 for most of the 2020-2021 school year.]

My classes have always been very interactive, so one of my main concerns was to maintain that level of interaction. I quickly realized that the mental health of my students was as important as my classes. With that said, I decided to talk to them before every virtual class and ask them how they were feeling and how they were handling the pandemic. That daily connection helped my virtual classes to be successful and created a special connection between the students and me. It was very much needed during that difficult time.

Outside of teaching, what do you enjoy doing?
Outside the classroom, I love to spend time outdoors. I think contact with nature is the best therapy in the world! My family and I love hiking, kayaking, and playing tennis.

Thanks, Dr. Isquith! We hope this was helpful for families to better get to know one of the exceptional members of our teaching staff. If you'd like to learn more about our teaching philosophy, please visit our website at mclean.basisindependent.com.