Calvin Swartzendruber » About Calvin Swarzendruber

About Calvin Swarzendruber

I was born and raised in Goshen, and graduated from Bethany in 1989.  I earned an A.A. degree from Hesston College, and a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Goshen College.  My masters degree in Chemistry is from Purdue University, and I have a certificate in school administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.  For the past 18 summers I have participated in a research program in the Physics Department at the University of Notre Dame.  I do part-time consulting work for Goshen College and am a part-time faculty member for Western Governors University (WGU).

I live in Goshen with my wife Karen, and we have three adult children and one who is a student at Bethany.  I'm a private pilot and a remote pilot; flying drones and real planes for fun and for transportation.  I do a fair amount of home renovation projects, and I like to tinker, fixing thing that are broken and breaking stuff that isn't. I also enjoy computers and coding, amateur (ham) radio, photography, and videography.

What is your philosophy of teaching?

Students learn science by doing science. My role in the classroom is that of a facilitator; in other words, to guide the students into finding understanding and meaning of how the universe works, and how God's creation is absolutely magnificent. I hope that students gain an awe-inspired understanding of the world around them, realizing full-well that the more we know, the more we realize what we don't know. My job is to provide the tools and the opportunities to deeper understanding, to coach students in the learning process, and inspire them to dig deeper and think objectively while preparing them for the steps in their learning journey.

What kind of classroom experience do you try to create for your students?

I hope that science classes can be fun and awe-inspiring. The natural world around us is remarkable in so many ways. Science gives us the tools to understand the natural world. My goal is for the classroom to be a place where students can have their eyes opened to the many wonderful things around them, and to use their knowledge and natural resources to make the world a better place.

How do you keep students engaged in their learning experience?

We do lots of hands-on learning. Students learn by doing, so we are almost always investigating something in the lab. When we have discussions or demonstrations, I try and keep it lively with enthusiasm, energy, and humor.

What qualities or life skills do you wish to impart to your students?

My hope is that students will become science literate, and be able to make wise decisions using their scientific knowledge objectively, both for their own benefit, but more importantly, to benefit their community.

What fuels your passion and drive to be an educator?

Seeing the smile on a student's face when they are inspired by something they saw or did, or when they finally "get it." Having former students come back years later and thank you for their experiences is also an energy-positive experience as an educator.

When you aren't teaching, what can we find you doing?

Aside from my other part-time jobs, I might be flying a plane for fun, doing yardwork, a home renovation project, or watching soccer (my kids, but also English Premier League).