Teacher of the Issue: Deinhammer’s gap year decisions becomes lifelong


Sreehitha Moravaneni

Coppell High School Honors Anatomy & Physiology teacher Jodie Deinhammer assists juniors Harini Hariharan and Nazia Quadri with their standard synthetic urinalysis lab in third period on Monday. Deinhammer was selected as The Sidekick’s Volume 34 Issue 6 Teacher of the Issue.

Iniya Nathan, Features Editor

Coppell High School Anatomy & Physiology teacher Jodie Deinhammer’s teaching career started because she held off going to medical school after completing her microbiology degree at TCU.

“I did not want to become a teacher,” Deinhammer said. “It was not my goal. I got ready to start med school and then I decided to take a semester off as I wasn’t ready to be in school again after four and a half years of undergrad. I have my degree in microbiology, so the only thing I could do was work in a lab or teach. My college counselor advised me to teach for a semester or for a year and then go back to med school.”

Deinhammer decided to wait before going to medical school because she did not know what she wanted to specialize in. She did not want to do more lab work after her college experiences and instead decided to teach, earning her certification at UNT, prior to going to medical school. Deinhammer ended up teaching at CHS by accident.

“We had to sign up to do student teaching, and I missed the deadline,” Deinhammer said. “ I got assigned here. I’ve never even heard of the town. I remember driving up to the school thinking, ‘How I’ve never seen this place, but this is fantastic.’ This is way better than Denton schools. I loved it once I got here. It’s funny how things all work out the way they should.”

Deinhammer fell in love with not only the school but with teaching itself. She has been teaching at Coppell ISD for 25 years, most of those years at CHS. She taught seventh grade science at Coppell Middle School East prior to returning to CHS. She wants to teach differently than how her teachers taught her, never having liked school when she was in it.

“I didn’t like school when I was a kid, so when they suggested that I teach. It was funny to me because I was like, ‘I’m telling you, I don’t want to be in school,’” Deinhammer said. “It was my drive to make it different from what I experienced because it was so boring for me. I never felt challenged or interested in what we were learning. I wanted to try to do it in a different way.”

Most of Deinhammer’s students, such as CHS senior Niti Yadav, would say that she has met her goal of making class engaging for her students. 

“She’s super chill, and she’s really sweet,” Yadav said. “The classes are a lot more interesting when she teaches it. I like her lectures because somehow she’ll make it really interesting without even trying. I don’t have to take notes for her lecture because I remember everything from just listening. It’s not fancy talk all the time so it actually makes sense to me.” 

CHS instructional coach Emily Pickrell also has a high opinion of Deinhammer’s teaching, having been in her class during her senior year of high school.

“I remember more about her class than a lot of my classes,” Pickrell said. “Which is funny because science was so not my thing. I remember the community that she built in her class. I remember laughing in her class so much and the people that I was already friends with or became friends with because of her class. She always wants to make things fun. I also remember very specific projects that we did, I remember doing a project over avocados and how they help support your brain health and our healthy fats. And just different projects, making stop motion projects that I had never done before. She let us really explore and try to be creative.”

As a teacher, Pickrell’s opinion on Deinhammer as a teacher has only grown more positive.

“When I was becoming a teacher, there were so many things about her in her class, and her as a teacher, regardless of what she taught that I wanted to take with me,” Pickrell said. “The relationships and the way that she made me feel very known, stuck with me for so many years. That was really important to me. And then giving kids choice is so important to her, and I saw that even as a student in her class, she always let us choose the way that we were going to show that we knew something. That’s something too that I wanted to do.”

Deinhammer describes herself as outdoorsy with a love for gardening and all things environmental, and with that, is the sponsor of the Eco Club.

“It’s a lot because the club members are very active and very engaged and want to do stuff,” Deinhammer said. “I’m pretty connected to the community. I’m always being given opportunities that I can share with the Eco Club; we always have something going on. From events to presentations to teaching kids, there’s always something to do and I love it.” 

While acknowledging that teaching is stressful, Deinhammer enjoys what comes with teaching like working with other teachers, hearing back from students that have graduated and coming up with new ways to keep her students interested in learning. 

“I want them to be good people,” Deinhammer said. “Take care of themselves and others around them. We focus a lot on health, the health and wellness of the human body and anatomy to know how to take care of ourselves.”

Despite not having planned to become a teacher, Deinhammer has no regrets being where she is today. 

“I wouldn’t do it any other way,” Deinhammer said. “Teaching is so much fun. It’s stressful sometimes, but typically it’s not stressful and I look forward to coming to work.”

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