Mr. Otten Igniting Curiosity


Mr. Johnson

Mr. Otten, SEMHS Biology Teacher

Cesar Nunez, Features editor


Every once in a while we encounter a teacher whose passion for their subject is so infectious that you can’t wait to have their class to learn more. This is the effect that Mr. Otten has on many students. He teaches biology with a strong passion for it and stated, “I love it when I see a student master or understand something after a while of struggling.” It gives him a sense of satisfaction and joy. Mr. Otten was one of the many people who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Pre-vet emphasis. Additionally, he earned his Masters of Education at the University of La Verne.


People such as Eliseo Lucas, describe Mr. Otten as an “inspiration” to him and hopefully many other students as well. His reason for becoming a teacher is because, “I’ve always been able to explain the subject well and I always helped my friends, and I was able to explain it better than my teachers and I like to help people out.” Mr. Otten has worked hard to get to where he is today. 


Mr. Otten has endured much throughout his life like having to go to college to get his degrees, but he also had to teach his very first year of AP Biology during the pandemic. Though this dilemma would be overcome by his AP class, he stated that, “The first year I taught AP Biology online during the pandemic and having that amount of students who passed the AP test with 3 or better, I’m proud that they were able to do so when it was online.” We all know the mess that was learning during the pandemic, and Mr. Otten knew so too, so when they did greater than he expected he felt proud of his first AP Biology class.


While being a teacher Mr. Otten learned a lot of important lessons. One of these lessons is, “It is very rewarding (being a teacher) make sure when you come into this field you come in with a growth progression mindset, you have to figure out your style, and how to adjust and give it your all because you have different periods.” Mr. Otten has learned this after years of being a teacher, but why did he settle on becoming a biology teacher? Mr. Otten has always been curious about the world and how nature interacts with each other and how we interact with nature, “We can see it on campus.” Mr. Otten has a clear passion for biology and being outside, and this is partly due to his sons which give him the opportunity to be outside and enjoy the world around him.


Cesar Nunez, a 9th grade student in Mr. Otten’s class stated, “As a student in Mr. Otten’s Biology Accelerated class, he shows lots of interest and care into the subject he teaches, and the students he teaches it to.” He clearly shows he cares and interested not only in the material he teaches, but also in the students and world around him.