At 79, this teacher continues to inspire

At 79, this teacher continues to inspire
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 6:53 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - In classroom 18 at Faith Fellowship in Watertown, William Main is doing what he does best.

“Remember the word phenotype?” he asks his students “Who can remember what that was?

He turns 80 in April and has been teaching since the ‘70s.

“Well, I was in college and looking for a career and I decided I liked science and wanted to be a science teacher,” he said, “so that’s what I did.”

After being drafted into the Army, he taught in Arizona for five years, then came home to the north country, where he taught at Watertown High for 23 years. He’s been with Faith Fellowship for 10 years.

“I teach Bible, seventh-grade science, eighth-grade science, I have two sections of biology and one section of chemistry,” he said. “Three of my grandchildren are in my classes right now.

He’s a much-loved teacher, combining his religion …

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for this time that we have as a class.”

… with his science …

“There are 23 chromosomes, which — those are pairs.”

And he’s known for his humor.

“I like to tell jokes, I tell jokes all the time,” he said. “Did you hear about the two angles that ran into each other at the intersection? They got into a wreck-tangle!”

Teenagers can be a tough crowd. But Main says, they keep him young.

“Just their different personalities and different interactions. I get along with them all and they’re into things I never knew about, and I like to learn from them.”

Much has changed since he’s started teaching.

The human genome was just put together in the year 2000,” he said.

And he’s learning every day.

“You never stop learning, I don’t think. And I’m just glad I can keep doing this and having a good time with everybody.”

He says the key to a happy career is faith and dedication.

“I would say the best thing you can do is have a love and respect for your students.”