Eman Sahran

Eman Sahran
Science Teacher
Amundsen High School
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The science teacher on a mission to empower more girls to conquer STEAM

Eman Sahran is a science teacher at Amundsen High School in Chicago where she teaches physics and astronomy. She also runs an engineering club for girls after school.

Teaching science wasn’t always Eman’s plan, she originally wanted to be an astronaut! However, life took a new turn once she had finished her physics education in the US and met her husband: “I started having children and began subbing and tutoring and then I realised I’ve got passion for this.” Eman went on to obtain the formal qualifications required to become a teacher.

20 years on, Eman is happiest teaching space in the classroom: “My favorite part is working with my students.”

Eman promotes collaborative hands-on learning amongst her students. “They choose from the things they want to do and then discuss the creative ideas within their team.” After they have chosen their project, Eman gives them the freedom to explore all areas of learning. “Let’s say with the SAM Labs STEAM Kit, if they were doing something with electricity, my students will read about circuits first and then they’ll watch some videos before starting their own projects.”

Eman is keen to encourage more girls to be interested in STEAM subjects. She runs an engineering club after school and believes that it is important for girls to have a space where they feel comfortable learning about STEAM. Eman also believes girls need to be introduced to female STEAM role models: “In my school, there are only two female science teachers and the rest are men.” More female role models will help students understand the possibilities that apply to them.

She also cites failure as something that holds girls back. “Girls like to be perfect so they are afraid to make mistakes and show their mistakes.” In Eman’s classroom, failing is part of success. “If they can laugh about their mistakes in class, that’s how they will learn. You need to teach students not to fear failure and help them learn from their mistakes.”

Eman gets the most enjoyment when students find answers on their own. “I really enjoy it when students have an appreciation for science.” She tries to get her students interested by hosting science fairs and competitions. Eman enjoys seeing her students go on to choose university majors related to science and STEAM and is keen to encourage more students to choose science as a career.

The current focus on STEAM is important to Eman. “People are using STEAM everywhere. The earlier we start, the better.”