New science teachers 101

Liana Pickrell and Samuel Desré

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






science teachers

The Palo Alto High school Science Department welcomes Silja Paymer, William Erlendson and Alma LaLonde (left to right). Photo by Liana Pickrell.

Palo Alto High school is welcoming three new teachers to the Science Department for the 2014-15 school year.

The teachers, Silja  Paymer, William Erlendson and Alma LaLonde, all previously taught in the Bay Area and are filling openings after four science teachers left last year.

Paymer, who is just beginning her teaching career, teaches Physics and Chemistry. After teaching for five years in San Jose, Erlendson will teach Biology and Biology Honors. Also having taught in San Jose, LaLonde teaches Chemistry Honors.

All three enjoy teaching for different reasons.

Paymer says she enjoys interactions with students.

“I like getting to know the students,” Paymer said. “It [teaching] gets more fun as you get to know them.”

Erlendson’s favorite part of teaching is when students start to learn for themselves.

“The biggest part that I really like in teaching is when you guys [students] begin to grow in a sense,” Erlendson said. “You start to put things together on your own and you get really excited.”

LaLonde enjoys when students learn challenging material.

“[My favorite part of teaching is] when students get excited about learning something they thought they wouldn’t be able to or understand,” LaLonde said.

While their passions for teaching are all different, they do share similarities in activities.

From Santa Cruz, Erlendson is an avid surfer who also enjoys biking and running. Also a biker, LaLonde recently became a white water rafting instructor. This summer,  Lalonde rafted on the middle fork of the American River. Paymer participates in and attends ultimate frisbee games.

All three new teachers share a love for animals. LaLonde owns a lovebird named Ofelia, Erlendson has a large tuxedo cat named Hayden and Paymer has a three-year-old dog named Nosehead.

During their free time, Paymer and Erlendson both play card games. Also, LaLonde and Erlendson have both recently watched “Guardian of the Galaxy” and enjoyed it.