Thank You, Ms. Mynster

Lilian Chong, News Editor

If there’s one teacher on campus with an affectionate heart and an amiable personality, it would be Ms. Mynster. Known for her charismatic, yet professional presence, when it comes to the discussion of chemistry, Ms. Mynster is more than what many paint her as—“the hardest teacher known on campus.” Rather, she’s a lighthearted pun enthusiast, a passionate chemist and instructor, a reminiscent storyteller, and an inspiring person who encourages her anxious students each day to stay determined. What’s more, she lives in two different worlds, alternating between the roles of an oddly famous, busy instructor for 150 pupils and a caregiver and mother of two children.

Located in the heart of the S-Building, S-106 lies peacefully under the massive staircase, where inside, Ms. Mynster awaits another exciting day of chemistry with her long-awaited students. A typical person walking through the bustling halls of the S-Building would find a furnished classroom full of awards, trophies, certificates, memorabilia, and most importantly, the colorful periodic tables plastered in every corner of the room. Make one 360-turn, and you’ll find many things to occupy yourself with, including Ms. Mynster’s large photo collage on the wall beside her desk and the lines of trophies and awards that sit atop the cabinets at the back of the room.

Despite the overwhelming concepts and head-aching chemistry terms, Ms. Mynster is understanding of her students’ struggles with the challenging material. She often draws an analogy between chemistry and everyday language—sometimes simplifying a proton attraction with a group of people who like to be around each other. During her lectures, Ms. Mynster engages her students in discussions by asking them insightful questions, such as “If this…then what happens?” Such discussions often make her students rub their temples or even stroke their chins, as they think a little bit deeper into the answer.

Sometimes, she acknowledges the sleepy faces on her students that she pauses on the lecture to share her humorous chemistry jokes or even her undergrad or teacher stories that put you on the edge of the seat to hear more. In essence, Ms. Mynster’s dynamic personality never fails to awaken her students. 

Given the challenges of the college-level course, Ms. Mynster always encourages her students to try to find errors in their study habits that preclude them from receiving a desired score. Sometimes, she asks them if they are studying effectively or cramming the material last minute. By training her students to identify these errors, Ms. Mynster imparts them with a valuable life lesson to retain and carry on throughout their educational journey.

For the most part, Ms. Mynster’s course has taught me a lot about adjusting my study habits in the most efficient and productive way possible. Now, that is not staring at the notes the night before the exam trying to absorb as many concepts and formulas as possible nor scanning the textbook hoping my brain contains photographic memory. It is these errors that students tend to overlook before preparing for any exam. Nevertheless, Ms. Mynster emboldens her students to reevaluate what constitutes effective study habits: that is laying out a schedule, partaking in active learning, and always being mentally prepared for an upcoming lecture. Indeed, the course is challenging, but thankfully, Ms. Mynster is an open, warmhearted individual, who is always eager and responsive to assist her students in times of difficulty. 

By the end of the day, all the exhausted Period 6 students pack up for their last class, as Ms. Mynster also reorganizes her belongings before the last bell strikes, so she can pick up her waiting children from school on time. Before the students leave, they all take the chance to wave goodbye to Ms. Mynster, and knowing all her students’ names by heart, she wishes them individually a good rest of their day. And once again, S-106 rests peacefully, until the next day begins—another routine but with the same Ms. Mynster, who never fails to put a smile behind the mask.