By Eli Haims
“I had no plans to ever become a teacher… it wasn’t something that I had even considered,” said chemistry teacher Chris Dartt, who will be leaving at the end of the school year to move to Seattle.
Dartt began his teaching career seven years ago when the biotechnology startup company that he was working for “was sort of running out of money.” The head of the company thought that Dartt would make a great teacher and suggested that he look into it. Dartt submitted his resume to the Polytechnic School in Pasadena to “keep [the head of the company] happy.”
“Without me knowing it, the headmaster at the Polytechnic School sent my resume to [President Thomas C.] Hudnut and I got a call the next day for an interview here and I got a job offer the next day after that,” Dartt said.
Dartt currently teaches Advanced Placement Chemistry and Honors Chemistry though he has taught regular Chemistry in the past.
“It sounds a bit cheesy but [what I’ll miss the most is] hanging out with the students because in both the classes I teach, honors and AP, there’s a pretty big relationship and interaction between the students and the teacher,” he said.
“He knows so much about chemistry,” Jack Petok ’11, who had Dartt for two years, said. “He complements the prescribed curriculum with his vast knowledge of applied chemistry and chemical engineering, putting concepts that seem esoteric in practical context.”
Dartt hopes to continue teaching in Seattle, where he is moving because his wife was offered a job.
However, he said that there are not many private schools in Seattle, and those schools do not have very many available positions for chemistry teachers. He would also consider entering academia if he was able to focus on teaching as opposed to doing research and writing papers or reentering the science industry, he said.
Three students in Dartt’s fifth period Honors Chemistry class bought Dartt a chinchilla as an end of the year gift.
“Dr. Dartt’s fifth period class truly loved having him as a teacher, and we felt the need to buy him the greatest, most hilarious present ever,” Carla Sneider ’13 said.