John Weldele: 6.022 x 10^23 times better than the average science teacher

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John Weldele: 6.022 x 10^23 times better than the average science teacher

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Jack Vielbig

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Over the past years, the Foothill Technology science department has been led by John Weldele, a teacher who at first glance seems to be the average nerdy left-brain science geek.

Upon further inspection, however, there is more than meets the eye to this man, even if he says otherwise. According to Weldele, “I don’t know if there’s too much hidden stuff. What you see is what you get.”

Debatable.

Students often look at teachers as instruments in their academic careers, tools to get them to where they need to be. It is easy to forget, though, that just like Foothill’s own students, teachers have personal lives, families and backstories that (sometimes) rival those of superheroes.

As a high school student, Weldele was “always trying to figure out what [he] wanted to do,” but he figured he would wind up in some sort of agency for environmental protection.

He loves breaks where he has the opportunity to enjoy nature in its entirety. “Taking the family out to national parks: camping, hiking, fishing, just getting away from it all. Harder to do on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

In college, he was a biology major with an emphasis on ecosystems and the environment. After graduation, he did not end up jumping right into the science field with his degree. Instead, Weldele “went to the seminary and spent a couple years studying Philosophy and Theology.”

He does not agree with the stigma that all scientists are atheists.

“I certainly would not say that science and religion are at odds with each other. I think they definitely compliment each other very nicely,” he said. “Religion asks the big questions, looks for meaning in the world. Why was the world created? It’s not trying to answer how it was created – that’s scientists’ job.”

He looks to the cohesions of science and religion to give him a “fuller understanding of the true truth of the universe,” rather than selecting to follow only science or only religion.

Now as an adult, he is a small group leader for the confirmation program at Our Lady of the Assumption Church.

Besides being a religious man, he is a computer gamer and ex-marching band drummer.

Online, he likes to play Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games where he can interact with his environment and build his own path. MMO games include League of Legends, World of Warcraft and his current favorite, ArcheAge.

In high school, Weldele’s main activity was the marching band where he was a drummer. “I did the music program in the off season when we weren’t marching. That took up a lot of my time,” he said.

Although he had many interests, even after seminary, he decided to go with teaching.

“I could see myself being an engineer in some company. But I enjoy teaching more. The human interaction, explaining concept ideas to students, and seeing the enlightenment on their faces when they get it. That’s more fun,” Weldele explained.

When asked if he would like to teach a different subject, he replied, “First of all why wouldn’t I want to teach science? Science definitely is the most interesting in my biased opinion. Maybe philosophy, just looking at that other aspect of, ‘Why are we here and where did we come from?’”

What do you think?