From Physics to Physical


Jose Lopez, Writer

The new math teacher at WAHS has been regarded as a great example to all students. Sam Hartman, the 26 year old new teacher at West, Growing up in West Des Moines and graduating Saint Cloud University in Iowa with a major in astrophysics and a minor in math,  his choices raise one big question, what brings him to West, of all places?

Q: What town did you grow up in? 

A:¨I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. A bigger town, it’s the capital of Iowa. I saw a lot more farming areas. So there’s no mountains or anything. We just see a lot of corn and soybean fields everywhere… It’s a lot different from here.¨ 


Q: Do you prefer Oregon or Iowa? 

A: ¨The scenery here is much better. But it was nice being back in Iowa with my family as well. So there’s pros and cons to both.¨


Q: How would you describe your high school experience? 

A: ¨Valley high school. In Iowa… It was awesome. I loved it. I had great friends. I had great teachers. It was a ton of fun¨ 


Q: What college did you graduate from and with what degree?

A: “Saint Cloud State University… I graduated in December of 2018.  Astrophysics. Physics in outer space. And a minor in math…. My brain is more wired to physics and math. I think there’s not that big of a difference between physics and math. Like physics is just applied math, so it’s harder. I don’t think I have a preference between physics and math. So I can see myself teaching both physics and math.¨

Varsity coach Sam Hartman leads WAHS football team during game against rival South Albany High School 

October 15

Q: Why has your career path gone under constant change? 

A: ¨My career path changed a couple times…. I did some research stuff in physics and astrophysics. And then I changed.  I was a college football coach for a couple years.  But I really liked the teaching aspect of it and I kinda missed talking about math and physics. My favorite part about coaching is helping young people learn and grow and develop. I felt like becoming a math teacher would be a good way to get that and also kinda exercise my math skills.¨


Q: Do you in any way regret this decision? 

A: ¨No, it’s been awesome, I really enjoy coming to school everyday. It’s very exciting for me. So no, not at all. I love it, I love it here. It’s been a great change, I’m a lot happier and more excited to come to work now. ¨


Q: What do you feel students can learn from your life choices?

A: I think one, just learning that it’s okay to pivot your life direction. Like it’s okay if I decide, ‘oh I think I would be happier, more excited to come to work today if I was a teacher.’ It’s okay to drop what you’re doing and go become a teacher.¨


Q: Do you think you will have another sharp turn in your career in the future?

A: ¨I don’t think there would be a big turn in my career, but I can definitely see myself teaching physics classes here. And I would really like to teach an astronomy class. I think that would be really fun and exciting for me. So hopefully in the future I’ll be able to get that going¨