Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

The Teaching Journey of a Farmer

Becoming a teacher, making his own mushroom farm, and going back to teaching is a small part of Aquatic Science teacher, Adam Cohen’s, journey of pursuing his passion for sea creatures.

Cohen was born in Plano, Texas and lived there until he was 13. He then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico after graduating high school there, and later moved back to Texas. He has lived in the DFW area since then. Cohens love for fish inspired him to graduate college with two bachelor’s degrees in related topics. He graduated from A&M University with a Bachelors in Marine Biology and Marine Fisheries. Becoming a teacher after college was not in Cohen’s line of vision, but he realized early on that it was hard to find a career with his degree. 

“Teaching was not in my plan. I was actually trained as a fisheries biologist. I don’t even have an agriculture degree. So the careers I’ve done don’t actually use my degree straightforward. I started teaching because frankly, it was the only job I could find,” Cohen said.  

Fishing and being involved with anything fish has always been a part of Cohen’s life. He had multiple fish tanks as a child and he used to work at an aquarium, always watching the vibrant sea creatures swim through murky waters. He has also had training as a taxonomist. 

“My interest has always been fish. By training, I’m what is called a taxonomist: somebody who identifies different species and is the biologist responsible for identifying the new animals. So by training that is actually what I know what to do. And I’ve always loved fish. I’ve had aquariums when I was younger and it’s always been a part of my life,” Cohen said.  

Cohen’s first teaching job after college was when he was 23 years old. His job was at a private school in East Dallas teaching mathematics and environmental science. Before that he had some experience with students at a summer camp, but not in a classroom setting. Cohen struggled at first but, like most things in his life, he got through it.

“I’ve been running a summer camp at A&M for a couple years and my first job was at a private school in East Dallas. I taught four different mathematics classes and one environmental class. With no training they just handed me five textbooks and said good luck. And I look back now and If I could make it through that first year, I could pretty much do anything,” Cohen said. 

Comparing his first teaching job to his current one, he can say that he has improved with his teaching style as well as his approach from the 16 years of experience. He has had many trials and errors but overall through his experience from teaching mathematics, science, and agriculture. Cohen can see growth through his teaching. 

“I reinvent things every year, so I never stick to the same plan, I’m always changing things. Overall I would say that I’ve probably gotten less rigid. I have my expectations and goals for my students. I have never felt of myself of an expert, I just feel like I might know more about a particular subject than somebody else,” said Cohen. “In my classroom I try not to act like the expert, I try to help guide my students. I tend to allow the students to feel natural and have a  logic consequences for their choice.” 

Cohen has had a vast variety of classes he’s taught through his years, mainly teaching secondary school. He’s done more than just your average science class, which includes farming and agriculture. Cohen approaches the class at a business standpoint. 

“Other than just the standard biology, chemistry, physics classes, which I’ve all taught, as well as environmental and aquatic science. I’ve taught agriculture, teaching how to farm, how to do animal husbandry, how to run a business. It’s actually teaching farming and as someone who has done non traditional farming and is a farmer its very useful because a lot of people don’t know where their food comes from.” 

Aside from teaching, Cohen has owned three different farms. A hydroponic, aquaponic and a gourmet mushroom farm. He started those in 2020. The hydroponic farm is growing plants without solid. Aquaponic farming is using the fish waste as fertilizer for the plants. The gourmet Mushroom farm was growing pounds of mushrooms and selling them to restaurants around the DFW area. Cohen states how successful the farms were and how he plans to build another farm.

“I had a green house with a water based system where the plants were in just sterile media. The Hydroponic and Aquaponic were moderately successful. They never really allowed me to quit my day job, but the mushroom farm was very successful,” said Cohen. “The Mushroom farm paid for my salary for three years when I was working there full time.” 

Cohen built the farms from the ground up and building them has helped him with gaining life skills as well building his house that his family currently live in. Cohen has had many experience through his life from teaching to farming and being a fish expert.  

About the Contributor
Valeria Ramirez
Valeria Ramirez, ENN Staff