Joey Hajda doesn’t just teach science; he lives it. As a large animal veteri- narian and an educator, he brings an engaging mix of passion, knowledge,
skill, and expertise to all of his classes.
I recently had the chance to talk with him
about his work and experiences.
TOS: What first drew you to the field of
Joey: Having grown up on a farm in central Texas, I’ve always loved being around
animals, and my parents were very supportive of my having lots of pets. I also had
many positive experiences in 4-H working with cattle. Reading the James Herriot
series of books kindled a strong desire to
become a veterinarian.
TOS: You hold degrees as both a large animal veterinarian and as a teacher. What is
your favorite part of working in these fields?
Joey: Being capable of bringing hands-on
experiences into my classroom and, even
better, being able to take my students out
into the field to get their hands “dirty” do-
ing real science have always been my fa-
vorite parts of teaching. I have had as my
ideal that students need not only to see and
hear science, but they need to touch, smell,
and, if possible, even taste science to get the
most of their study.
TOS: Have you had any unique experiences as a large animal veterinarian that you’d
like to share?
Joey: Several years ago, some students
and I were out at a student’s farm, castrating a two-year-old Suffolk ram. The student who owned the ram was a well-built
young man, and I felt confident that he
and I could manage restraining the sheep.
Well, when the scalpel met the skin of the
ram, we learned differently, and I quickly
learned that the roof of the building we
were in was less than my height! After the
stars I was seeing dissipated, we relocated
and finished the job. Moral of the story is,
that before you apply the knife, check your
TOS: What is it about homeschooling
your ten children that you have enjoyed
Joey: What I feel my wife and I have enjoyed most about homeschooling our children is building family relationships with
common learning experiences. My wife
reads aloud to the children every day, no
matter how old the kids are, providing a
common experience of learning to love
View . . .
Bonnie Rose Hudson
Science on the
Farm and in
An Interview with
Science Instructor Joey Hajda
I’ve always loved being
around animals, and
my parents were very
supportive of my
having lots of pets.