Madison Davick takes the biology department by storm


Kate Kelly

New WA biology teacher Madison Davick smiles for a picture.

Kate Kelly and Katie McDermott

Right after finishing her education, Madison Davick is ready to take on her first year of teaching. Davick is teaching freshman biology and senior marine biology. She is fresh out of college, studied biology and helped in laboratories, and now excited for her own classroom.

Q: Where did you teach before WA?

A: I am fresh out of college. I taught in college but this is my first year in a classroom of my own. […] It’s really awesome to have your own ways of teaching because when you’re doing it under other people, you have to follow them and follow their lead. So it’s nice to have the freedom to do it how I want. 

Q: What made you want to teach science?

A: Growing up I was always a science nerd. I was always the girl that loved science, and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. So in school I studied biology, and then after school I did pharmaceuticals where I worked in greenhouses as a plant biologist. It just kind of came full circle for me this year, that everything that I’ve done was teaching people how to do things. […] if all of my students are like, “Biology may be the worst subject ever, but Ms. Davick did a really good job at it and I really liked her class”, then I did something right.

Q: What would you say are your biggest challenges as a new teacher?

A: I think that the biggest one is understanding what my role is to the students. It’s not easy being the “young teacher”, and I see it a lot more with my juniors and seniors than I do with my freshman. But it’s being able to have that fine line between being the young fun teacher and being a role of authority.

Q: What brought you to WA?
A: It was honestly one of the first places that popped up when I was doing my original searches for schools that were [looking for] available for teachers. […] As soon as I saw Westford Academy had a freshman biology teacher position open, I was like “this is perfect”. […] So finding Westford Academy was honestly really lucky. […] Honestly, WA is such a great school. When I found out that this was teachers’ forever school, one where they stay for the rest of their career, I was not surprised. It’s such a great district.

Q: What are you most excited about for this year?

A: I am the field hockey coach for the freshmen team, and I will say that it is definitely one of my favorite parts of every single day; […] Also, I’m really excited for after Christmas break when things calm down and all of the kids are […] actually comfortable in my classroom and we have a really great report all around. I’m really excited for what’s to come.

Q: Have you always played field hockey?

A: I started in middle school, played it all throughout high school, and then in college. […] Then Mr. Bunyan stopped me […] and pulled me in and talked to me about what I did and what I played back in the day. He told me tha, “A field hockey position opened up. I’m gonna write your name down.” I was okay with it but I was really hesitant, […] But field hockey is amazing. I’m so glad that I got to do it. It’s great to be back out there.

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you want to be and why?

A: I am a plant girl. I have way too many plants. So I would definitely be something involving plant biology. I don’t know what I would necessarily do with it but I would definitely be working with plants all day long.

Q: What’s one of your favorite experiments or activities you’ve done?

A: One of them [experiments] I’m really excited for is watching photosynthesis happen. I punch a bunch of holes into plant leaves and then we watch photosynthesis happen and they bounce up and down in water. It’s really cool because photosynthesis is one of those things you hear about and you’re like, “I don’t know how it works.” But actually getting to see the oxygen produced was really cool for me. We did that in college and it was super fun. It was so easy and everyone was done in 20 minutes, which is the perfect lab.

Q: Who was your biggest influence and inspiration?

A: So I would have to say in college I had one professor, her name was Jean Doty. She was amazing. She was the hardest professor I’ve ever had in my life. My exams for her would take me seven hours. It was insane. But I am obsessed with her and to this day, I still reach out to her. She was the first one to see my teaching potential and my lab potential, so I was a teacher’s assistant for her. I helped her teach the freshman biology curriculum in a college course and I helped her in class-like lecture settings. As a freshman, I had that opportunity, so it was nice to be helping her teach people that were the same age as me.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the future?

A: I would love to stay here. I have a lot of friends who are teachers, and we share stories. I’ve realized in such a short amount of time, from other teachers, other staff, other faculty, the administration, even the principal, and everyone is just so supportive here. I never walk into this building feeling like I’m alone. I’ve had teachers [from other schools] that have talked to me and told me they don’t get the support that we get here. WA has this big respect for everyone here. It’s just amazing. This is why people stay here in WA. I totally get it.

Q: What would you say is your biggest strength as a teacher?

A: I would have to say, we did this really fun activity on one of the first couple of days of school to have the students get to know me. I wanted them to understand that I was diagnosed with cancer in college, and it was really difficult. I was a first-generation college student. I graduated very high up in my class and I did it with cancer.  I wanted to explain that to my kids because I feel like students are in this great developmental period where things can get really hard, and you don’t realize until you’re faced with it. Everyone can do really hard things. I wanted to explain to my kids that this is an environment where it’s okay to come in and have a bad day. It’s okay to not understand what’s going on. It’s okay to be going through something at home. But I want them to understand that I am a relatable person. I want them to be able to come to me if they need help with anything at all because the professors that I had, were so accommodating when I was going through my struggles, I will never forget that. So I wanted to create an environment where students know that they’re not a number in my classroom. If you have something going on, you should be able to come to me, even if you’re not my student, even if you are down the road, a senior and you’re like I have college stuff going on. Life is scary. So I want my students to know that no matter where they are, they can always come to me.