A Previous Life

Sieve works as medical technologist prior to becoming teacher

Bailey Sibenaller, Fall 2016 J1 Student

untitled-presentationHigh school, college, same job for the rest of your working life. That’s how life seems to go nowadays. Charlena Sieve, Sophomore Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher at Blue Valley, decided to break the pattern.

“My first degree is in medical technology — I went to UMKC,” Sieve said. “It could’ve been a four- or five-year program. I chose the four year. Three years at the university and the last year at an internship.”

Sieve began fresh out of college as a medical technologist working in hospitals, county departments, and doctors offices.

“Most of my work was in the hospital and I started my day by going up on the floors and drawing patients blood work,” Sieve said. “Then I would return to the lab and be in a department where I would run tests on that blood work.”

After 13 years in medical technology Sieve realized she wasn’t enjoying work as much as she should have — at that point she decided to go back to college and work toward a teaching degree.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Sieve said. “I just got diverted because back in the day they made barely enough money to support themselves.”

During her transition period, she was very busy and sometimes overwhelmed; however, she believes the switch was definitely necessary,

“I was working a lot of what they call PRN, or on call,” Sieve said. “I would pick up any shift I could to work around my family because I had three kids at the time I went back to school. I would work night shifts and day shifts and didn’t get much sleep. I worked as a medical technologist until the day I graduated with my certification of teaching. Overall, I really felt like I was making the right choice and this was the right thing for me to do, and I’ve never regretted it.”

Fellow chemistry teacher, Manal Siam, said how Sieve has impacted her life in many positive ways. She said the experiences Sieve has helps students.

“Mrs. Sieve was my mentor teacher my first year of teaching and was my saving grace when I started teaching chemistry at Blue Valley,” Siam said. “She was very helpful in planning, sharing materials and just offering support and advice.”

Both teachers agree teaching was the right choice for Sieve’s helpful, outgoing personality.

“Teaching is a very fitting job for Mrs. Sieve,” Siam said. “She is so caring and so compassionate and knows so much about the content and its real life application.”

Sieve is confident she’s ended up in the right job for her and couldn’t imagine what life would be like if she didn’t quit her previous job.

“I think medical technology is a great profession, we obviously need people to go into that profession because we all need people to do diagnostic testing.” Sieve said. “I’ve said to many people if I didn’t love [teaching]  I would be the most miserable lady in the whole world because that’s all I do, I just love it.”