Teacher of the Month: James Fishman


Photo by Diya Kachoria

Mr. Fishman, the Anatomy and Physiology teacher at WCHS, uses his human skeleton model to assist his students with a visual representation to relate to their learning.

By Diya Kachoria, Photo Manager

With both an immense amount of knowledge in the subject and prior experiences that pair perfectly with the course, Mr. James Fishman has a lot to offer as the Anatomy and Physiology teacher at WCHS. Along with Anatomy, Fishman has taken on teaching Biology this year and shows his passion for the sciences with his educational history that has brought him to WCHS. 

“For undergraduate school, I went to Connecticut College with a degree in botany,” Fishman said. “I went to graduate school and got my masters degree at the College of William and Mary at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. I researched marine science for 10 years, and then finally got my graduate degree at George Washington University for education and started teaching here.”

Fishman has taught at WCHS for 20 years, and his long journey shows his commitment towards students at this school. With such a long history at WCHS, some may wonder how Fishman first decided to start teaching.

“I used to do research, but I found that I was much more interested in immediate rewards,” Fishman said. “I always loved going into classrooms as a guest speaker, so I thought about giving teaching a shot. So, I went ahead and entered into a graduate program for education and moved up here which is where my family is from.”

Fishman’s passion for teaching also grew because of his family’s history. Mr. Fishman’s father worked in the medical field, and he brought in his father’s book about color blindness to class to relate to a unit students learned in Anatomy and Physiology. 

“I had the choice to teach Anatomy, and I have always been interested in it and I chose it because most of my family has worked in the medical field and I have been around it all of my life,” Fishman said.

Although Fishman has been teaching for many years, he had not encountered a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic before. However, he was able to adapt his lessons and still make a virtual Anatomy and Physiology class as interesting as an in-person one.

“It felt a little bit like first year teaching during COVID-19 because Anatomy had to change from a very hands-on class to being virtual,” Fishman said. “That included labs and changing ways students could learn online. However, I was able to make some new updates to the class, and I have taken the best parts of the virtual lessons and am using it as a supplement for students this year.”

Being able to start back up with in-person labs and dissections the past two years has made it easier for Fishman to connect with his students and give them extra help. Alex Pelletier, a senior at WCHS who had Mr. Fishman last year for Anatomy and Physiology has benefitted from his assistance.

“When I had Mr. Fishman last year, I was amazed at how much he knew,” Pelletier said. “From labs to dissections, Mr. Fishman always knew how to explain a certain system or body part so I could understand it for assessments and future knowledge.”

Fishman believes that gaining a teacher’s help can be a great tool for success. He always makes himself available to answer students’ questions and believes that clarifying anything can be very beneficial when understanding topics. Fishman wants students to know that teachers at WCHS want to help them in any way possible.

“I would tell students not to be afraid to ask for help,” Fishman said. “That is the big thing, it’s easier to not get overwhelmed by keeping up with your work and continuously asking your

teachers for help. There’s a lot of opportunities for extra help, not just with teachers, but also with the Science National Honors Society and with various tutoring.”