October 21, 2019
Theodore Westhues came to Johnston from teaching at Ottumwa for the past two years. Westhues, a new chemistry and Forensic Science teacher has joined the district. “Something that drew me to Johnston was because of the great reputation in the state and among the nation,” Westhues said. It boosts students’ motivation whenever a new teacher joins the district to share their enthusiasm for learning.
Westhues taught in Ottumwa for three years before moving here; “My wife came back to Iowa state to finish her aerospace engineering degree,” Westhues said. “So instead of having two hours between us, I moved and applied to Johnston.” In his short time here so far, he’s started to enjoy the closeness in the atmosphere among the students and being able to work with many knowledgeable people in teaching and chemistry.
While many teachers predominantly have teaching experience in normal classrooms, Westhues started off teaching in a very different way. “My first teaching job was as a Hapkido instructor,” Westhues said. “For me, that has deeply influenced my understanding on how people learn.” Hapkido is a form of martial arts that focuses on self defense and grappling. Through his training and teaching he has developed a philosophy. “You don’t really know something until it’s in your bones. It’s not training until you can do it right, it’s training so you can’t get it wrong,” Westhues said. Westhues wants students to understand that instead of striving to do something right, you should strive to perfect it.
Westheus may seem like a normal teacher; but from his experiences of teaching in places outside of a traditional school he has developed a unique sense of teaching. He thinks in a unique way and encourages students to strive for more.