Failure doesn’t define

Freshman Campus biology teacher Ashley Nagel pushes her students to do their best and learn from their missteps


Emma Hertel

Ashley Nagel speaks to one of her freshman students during AIM on Mar. 18 in room 424 at the Freshman Campus.

Peyton Whelan, Contributing Writer

The bell just rang and Ashley Nagel is sitting at her desk waiting for her Biology class to begin. As students make their way into the classroom she gazes over the class, seeing the familiar bright faces. Once everyone is seated and class is about to begin, Nagel feels a sense of joy knowing that she can make an impact on their lives and help them strive.

Nagel has been a teacher at MCHS for three years, teaching regular Biology at the Freshman Campus. She loves working with her students and the uncertainty that each day holds.

“My favorite thing about teaching is there’s never a dull moment,” says Nagel. “My favorite thing is working with my students, making those connections, but I love that every day is different, every class period is different. You never know what to expect. We could have a super calm day, one day, then the next day we are just crazy.” 

Nagel adds, “Yes, it gets crazy at times ‚ sometimes it gets a little frustrating — but it’s great because every day is not the same, and you never know what to expect. Y’all keep me on my toes.”

Nagel says she wants to have a connection with her students, and watch them all succeed but not every student is willing to cross that finish line.

“The worst part about being a teacher is I feel like a general characteristic of being a teacher is teachers want to help.” says Nagel,  “We want to make sure that everybody is successful. We want to make sure that everybody finds their place in life. And sometimes that’s just not always a goal that we can meet with some students.” 

She states, “I think that the hardest part about teaching is wanting to be that person for every student, and devote all my time and see them all succeed, but in life that just doesn’t always happen.”

Although Nagel can’t always be present physically for all her students, she is always doing what she can to be there for the students who want to show up and succeed.

“She puts in extra time after school at Learning Forward to help students,” says Beth Caruso, another Biology teacher at the Freshman Campus. “She’s taken extra classes in order to help out the multi-language learners and is able to pick up tips and tricks to help them be successful in biology.”

Not only does Nagel try to be there to help her students, but she shows up with a positive attitude everyday to make you feel safe and secure to ask for help.

“She is super positive and very helpful,” says Caruso. “She’s also got great ideas and works well with all of us.”

At the end of the day, whether we fail or not, we should always remember that our failures do not define us and do not determine whether we succeed or not. 

“Whatever type of failure you’re facing in life, you can always go back and learn from it. Failing something does not define you.” states Nagel, “It’s how you get back up and work back from that failure that defines you.”