Teacher Feature: Ms. Jude Rieger

Brianna Iandoli

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A well-known, greatly liked, and appreciated faculty member is always an excellent choice for an interview. Throughout her years at TMHS, she has taught introduction to chemistry and physics, and both college-prep and honors chemistry, making sure that every student is working to the best of their ability, being a tremendous help to their success, whether it is helping during class, having extra help every single day, dealing with mental breakdowns, or anything you can think of. Science teacher, Ms. Rieger, is a high-ranked favorite of the students here at TMHS, and is still praised for her qualities long after the last day of being in her classroom, ensuring that she is a great teacher to get to know on Tewksbury Tribune.

Ok, here we go.

Ok.

Why and when did you start teaching?

Um, I started teaching in 2008, and I started, well started teaching high school, and I worked at a teacher assistant all throughout college and graduate school; and why I changed careers to teaching was because I found that that was the part of science that I really liked, was actually connecting with students and getting them to understand science as opposed to doing research, which is fairly isolating.

What college did you go to and how did you like it?

I went to College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, and um, I really liked it there a lot. Um, I had a great chemistry program and I didn’t start off as a chem major. I had excellent professors, met some really fantastic people there, and the campus was beautiful. Worcester is… Worcester, but um, no, it was a good school.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you always liked science?
So, when I was really young, I wanted to be a dentist like my dad, and then I decided I wanted to be a doctor. Um, I don’t know if I had any other kind of career options but, um, yeah, I guess I’ve always liked science.

What’s the most creatively wrong answer you’ve received in your years of teaching?

*Laughs* Oh, Gosh. Um. *long pause* I have had some incredibly, um, creative and interesting spellings of things, specifically elements. Um, a lot of people, I think there’s a quizlet somewhere out there that’s got a mistake in it, because the sheer number of people that have told me that cesium is cerrelium. Cerrelium’s not even a thing. But, like, there’s a lot of cerrelium answers, and they all spell it the same way, too. Um, and then out of the most, I don’t know if that’s the most creative one, but I’ve also seen some very interesting, um, very ​wrong ​math over the years.

Interesting. Um, what is your most memorable teaching moment that will stick with you for a long time?

Man, these are really intense questions. My most memorable teaching moment… Um… Probably one of my most memorable moments was, um, I had the opportunity to go back to Holy Cross on their 50th anniversary of coeducation, so women starting at the school. Um, and the chemistry department had selected me for the alumna for, um, the 2000’s and come back and speak, and when I did that, I not only got to, um, see some of my former high school students, [they] came to my lecture, which was fun. But, one of the students that I had tutored in organic chemistry was now a professor at Holy Cross, and that was really neat because I remember having him as a student. He remembered me, and apparently I was like a transformative person for him, and I thought that was really neat.

Um, what is your weirdest memory that you have experienced at TMHS?

Weirdest memory here?

Yeah.

Um… I don’t know how many of those I can really say without getting in trouble. *laughs* Um. *long pause* I have, um, I would probably say it’s been parts of student conversations that I’ve overheard that they probably didn’t want me to overhear.

Yeah​. ​Um, who’s the first teacher you became friendly with?

Like in life or here?

At TMHS.

Dr. Saad.

What’s the worst grade you’ve ever gotten?

I failed my very first organic chemistry quiz. Um, I got like a solid 40 on it.

Nice. Um, what’s your favorite movie?

Ooh. That’s a tough one. *pause* I mean I could give like the film critique one and sound all like hollished or I could tell you that, um, I really like all the Disney animated movies. You know?

Hm. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Hm. A power of persuasion. Like get people to think what I want them to think. That would be great.​

That’s smart. If you could redo any year of your life what would it be?

*Long pause* I wasted a ​LONG ​time in a really terrible relationship in, uh, college, so I’d probably take that time back.

Yeah. And then the last one is describe your most embarrassing moment.

Oh gosh. My most embarrassing moment? *very long pause* I don’t know if it’s ​the​ most embarrassing moment, but I’m just trying to think of something that was recent. Um, I was at a… a kid’s birthday party, and was, um, chasing around after my son, and, um, when we left, I realized that I had, um… had my fly open the entire time. So, that was… classy. *laughter*

*Laughter* Well that’s all, so.

Alright!

Thank you.

Those were some interesting questions.

Ms. Rieger is an incredible teacher who still enjoys her profession even after 11 years, and hopefully there are many, many more years to come. Her goal is to help all of her students, proven by the fact that she became a teacher because she realized that her passion was helping people learn and understand science, while connecting with them as people outside of school. Ms. Rieger, just like all of the students here at TMHS, is a human being with a personal life, such as having a family, embarrassing moments, and failing exams. As a former student of Ms. Rieger’s rigorous honors chemistry course, I assure you that she truly is a great teacher, but more importantly, a great person; probably the nicest person I’ve ever met, putting herself last no matter the situation, time, or place. Thank you, Ms. Rieger, for not only taking time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed, but for being such an amazing member of TMHS.