David Linden-Darrow first thought about becoming a teacher in seventh grade. Now, after 25 years of being a full-time science teacher at West Sand Lake Elementary School, he is retiring.
“I first thought about becoming a teacher in seventh grade because my English teacher in Burnt Hills, Tim Koch, was my favorite teacher,” he said. “At 19, I left the U.S. for the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea where I worked for an education agency building a school in a very remote area. I spent three years there and left PNG on an educational book ship. I signed on as a crew member and for 18 months sailed with the M.V. Logos to ports in the South Pacific and Asia distributing free books. I suppose you could say that I have always been involved with education, transitioning from student eventually to teacher over the course of my life experiences.”
Mr. Linden-Darrow has many favorite memories from the past 25 years, which are preserved on the pages of the “Time Keeper” yearbook that documents the science experiments he has shared with students both inside and outside of school.
“Three years ago, Robin (his wife) was my classroom aide and we were able to take students through farm fields collecting monarch larvae. It was an especially abundant year. We raised over 250 monarch butterflies in the classroom, tagging 100 before we released them in the monarch waystation behind the school,” he said. “Generous and inspired members of the West Sand Lake community enabled us to develop that wetland area. I will most miss having access to all of the fifth grade students at West Sand Lake and seeing the wonder and excitement in their eyes at the moment of discovery, when they witness something they have never seen before, or they accomplish something they had never dreamed of trying.”
In retirement, Mr. Linden-Darrow will join his wife in “grandparent daycare,” as he calls it. He plans to continue to provide children with the experiential science opportunities that he was once able to provide as an elementary school science teacher.
“I will continue maintaining and developing the monarch waystation at West Sand Lake and plan to construct a kiosk at the entrance to the trail around the pond that tells the story and thanks, by name, all those who contributed to “The Citizen Science Conservation Project,” he said.