New Teachers Reflect on Their First Year at Cleveland

By Graham Jones

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As the year comes to a close, students and teachers alike prepare for the sunny three month break from the confines of the school. While some of these teachers will be familiar with the feeling of finishing a full year, other teachers will be new to the reflection that comes in June after nine months in school. New Cleveland teachers have been through a lot this year, experiencing the ups and downs this rollercoaster of a school provides, so I wanted to see how a couple of these new teachers felt after their first year in Cleveland High School. Also, apologies from the Clarion to all the new teachers who were not interviewed.

English – Mr. Parker         Favorite TV show?: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

What have been the high points of your year?                  

“The best parts of teaching in general are always positive moments with students, so when a student offers an insight you don’t necessarily expect or you see them grow in ways that are unexpected, that’s always really gratifying. Those moments are the ones that stand out to me. At the beginning of the year,  students make a certain impression and you have a sense for where they might go in the year, and when students in a really positive way grow in a way that you didn’t expect in September or October. It can even be something really small. They can offer a comment in class that’s insightful and that shows a level of maturity that again, maybe you hadn’t expected. Moments like that are really sort of what fuels me as a teacher.”

What have been the challenges of this year? What do you want to work on for next year?

“I taught for three years before this and I taught freshmen exclusively and this year I’m teaching sophomores and juniors, and each year, this might sound a little weird, but it’s very unique. People are in a specific developmental and academic stage, so just having a general sense of where sophomores are, having a general sense where juniors are. My hope is that I’ll be able to go into the year with a more accurate understanding of what students are prepared for at that level, so that’s one challenge I’ve been working on. [Room] 132 is a really interesting space to spend a day so getting adjusted to that is something else that’s been a work in progress.”

Science – Mr. Fuller         Favorite TV show?: Game of Thrones

What have been the “ups’ of your first year at Cleveland?

“I would say the best thing about my first year at Cleveland is working with the students. I think I’m very lucky, or maybe this is the whole school, to have a lot of really hard-working, deep-thinking, compassionate, kind students and it’s been amazing to get to do a lot of things with them.”

What have been the challenges of this year? What do you want to work on for next year?

“Teaching two new classes is challenging, so I’m looking forward to teaching the same classes again next year and continuing to refine my curriculum and especially for my environmental science class, I want to get them outside more because it’s hard to study something like that just in a classroom.”

Social Studies – Ms. Hazard         Favorite TV show?: Planet Earth/Hell on Wheels

What have been the high points of your year?

“Spending lunches with my content area team, that’s the social studies faculty. Getting to walk my dog to watch football games from outside the fence, because I live in the neighborhood, and I could never do that at my old school. Getting to know the students here, you guys are awesome!”

What have been the challenges of this year? What do you want to work on for next year?

“It would be nice to plan farther ahead for the content I’m teaching, I came in the week before school started thinking I was going to teach other stuff at a different school. I’m stoked to be here, but I’m really looking forward having a summer so I can re-work my curriculum and make it better for next year.”

Mathematics – Ms. Muhs         Favorite TV show?: Parks and Rec

What have been the high points of your year?

“Working with the other math teachers. So, Mr. Maurer, Ms. Maiden, Ms. Segraves, Mr. Running have been really helpful as a new person in the building”

What have been the challenges of this year? What do you want to work on for next year?

“Getting kids to come to class more or taking advantage of things that we offer like math tutoring, lunch tutoring, trying to get students excited about math if they’re not excited. Getting to know more of the staff because there’s a lot of people I don’t know still.”