New horizons for new teachers
November 1, 2021
It was the first day of school. The adrenaline from the students spread across the halls. Students rushed to class with new schedules in hand, eager to meet their new set of teachers. They entered the classroom, ready to begin the new school year, but did not realize that it was a fresh start for some of their teachers as well.
In the few months since the new school year began, new teachers have adjusted to the new setting at Hebron. Although they are new, they have prior experience with teaching jobs.
“Hebron has a phenomenal team of teachers who are very uplifting toward one another,” new AP World History teacher Morgan Knowles said. “When you have a question, there’s always a shoulder you can lean on. [Having] that support system makes being a new teacher on the campus very easy.”
Knowles and new school counselor, Prisana Cheng, said they made the transition from being at a middle and elementary school, respectively, to a high school due to the more complex conversations they get to have with their students.
“It’s been a big shift,” Cheng said. “High school is so different [as] the school is so much bigger. Personalities are different among the kids, [and] parents are different, too. At the elementary level, [parents] tend to pick up their kids from school and ask them [generic questions] like ‘what did you do at school?’ It’s not like that in high school.”
Even with an uplifting environment, for some, Hebron has been different from the previous schools they have worked in. Geometry teacher Amanda Bower said she likes how caring her students are toward her and loves watching the amount of school spirit everyone has that she did not see at the high school she previously worked at.
“There have always been a few students in all my classes who are genuinely concerned about me [and] ask me how my week has been, which has been so sweet,” Bower said. “There were only a few students who would participate in the dress-up days [at my old school,] so I love seeing everyone in their spirit wear.”
All three staff members settled nicely onto the main campus, but still have their own internal concerns for their students. Bower said she worries about her students transitioning from virtual to in-person learning.
“I had expectations going in that [some] of these kids had been virtual and that it was going to be a huge adjustment for them,” Bower said. “[At my old school] we weren’t [virtual,] so I had to [ask myself] ‘where are students going to have gaps?’ ‘what was I going to need to do to get them back in school mode?’”
Cheng also had her own worries in terms of counseling and guiding the seniors through the process of applying to college. Along with the college application process, Cheng is also having to balance meeting kids with writing counselor recommendations for students.
“My [schedule] is different every day,” Cheng said. “Right now I’m writing a lot of recommendation letters for seniors, but that can change tomorrow. What I didn’t realize [would] happen was that when I meet with my seniors, they’re all on [a different level of the spectrum of preparation]. Some of them have all their colleges planned out, [and] have already taken their ACT and SAT [while] others are still trying to figure out what they’re going to do. Seniors [have] a lot of responsibility, and I’m just there to guide them. [Talking to them] is not hard because I lived through it.”
Overall, the new teachers said they have had a great experience with the people, campus culture and environment of the main campus. They said they have a staff they know they can rely on, and a group of students who are already comfortable with the teachers’ environment.
“I knew excellence has always been at [the Hebron] campus, and as a teacher, that’s something you want to be a part of,” Knowles said. “[I] want to help construct, buy into, and [continue to] build up [the] system [of] Hebron.”