Humans of PIHS: Journey of a Science Teacher

Erika Bernard explains why she came back home to Presque Isle High School.


Julianna Morningstar

“I don’t see myself going anywhere from here. Presque Isle High School is where I love to be,” said Bernard.

Julianna Morningstar, Staff Writer

“I taught in Mars Hill for a year and a half before I came here, but Mars Hill is such a small school that there were no other science teachers teaching with me, so I had no colleagues really. When Mrs. Argraves told me a job opened up here I got excited to teach with her. I ended up getting hired, and it’s just so much nicer because there are always other science teachers around if I have questions – which is nice because I always have questions.

“I have actually always been in Presque Isle. Born in Presque Isle, raised in Presque Isle. I went to Husson for a few years, then came back to UMPI. I never really left. It’s a good place to raise kids here, and that is the big thing that my husband and I had said. We considered moving to Portland at one point, just to try a bigger city with more stuff. But when we had our daughter it was nice to be home, to have a big front yard and backyard with lots of room. And we live near Mantle Lake Park, so there are lots of things to do for our daughter.

“Some of my goals are to just simply make it through this year. I am also working towards getting my Masters right now. I am half way through, which doesn’t always feel like a lot, but I am definitely getting there. I am getting my degree in science education through the University of Nebraska because they are one of the only online schools, for science teachers, that don’t make you go in person for labs. That would be impossible for me as a mom. I never thought about getting my Masters, because once you’re a teacher you’re a teacher, it doesn’t matter. However, when I started teaching AP Chemistry, I knew I needed some help. Now on this online program I get to take all these nice chemistry classes like Environmental Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. These are classes that UMPI doesn’t offer, so I was never taught when I originally went for my teaching degree. Once I am done with that I guess I will have to focus on getting some new goals. 

“Throughout this life you can always change your mind. People tend to say yes to certain things, then they feel stuck once they don’t really want to do it, or they don’t really feel comfortable doing it. Just remember you can always change your mind.”