New teachers join WHS community

img_5585-1Credit: Natalie Hsu
Veronique Latimer
What sparked you interest in teaching?
“I was a Peace Corps Volunteer and I didn’t know what kind of project I would be thrown into. I ended up being a health volunteer. I didn’t really have a health background, and the job entailed travelling to rural villages and teaching little kids basic practices on how to keep their drinking water safe. This was in Morocco, and it piqued my interest. Then I worked on a farm for a long time, where I worked with high school students. I also taught for a little bit at a farm. [My love for teaching] evolved from there.”

Where did you graduate from and what degree did you receive?
“I graduated from Vassar College with a English and French major, but I always did studio art. After doing some other things, I decided to go for my graduate degree at Parsons School of Design, majoring in painting.”

Have you had experience with teaching before?
“This is my tenth year teaching high school art. I’m coming from Reading High School. I was pretty much teaching the same things like introductory art classes, painting, drawing and AP Studio Art.”

How has your first week with WHS gone?
“It’s been really good and really nice. It’s just a little bit hard for me to learn everyone’s names right away. So, I’m getting impatient because I still don’t know everyone. I think the hardest thing to get used to has been the schedules, since it’s a little bit different [from Reading High School]. But it’s been good; it’s been really nice.”

How do you feel working with high school students?
“I love working with high school students. I feel, especially as artists, their work is so interesting. It’s such a chance to influence them or inspire them to really go on and do something that they love. I also love to work with students who think they are not good at art. I feel like by the time you get to high school a lot of kids forget that. When you’re a little kid, everyone loves art. When you get older, people start to think they’re not good at it. I like working with Art I students who might think they are not very good at it and getting them to realize that there’s something they’re always going to enjoy.”

What are your goals here at WHS?
“I just want to continue developing and evolving my classes. This year it’s just getting to know everybody. I’m really interested in all the extracurricular art opportunities that there are. Our facilities are just so great in this room. I feel like there’s a lot of cool projects that I can do with students that I couldn’t do at my old school. I’m interested in pushing myself to try new things that I haven’t before.”

img_5599-1Credit: Natalie Hsu
Ryan Black
How did you begin your interest in teaching?
“[Teaching] has always been an interest for me. I was a student here way back when. What really got me into it was when I took Physics with [Physics teacher Ken] Rideout my junior year. The way he taught and the way he taught physics specifically, it opened my eyes. Not to physics, but how someone can teach something really well and be very engaging and friendly. I thought, ‘Maybe that’s something I can do.’”

What jobs have you had in the past?
“I worked in the oil industry for a couple of years down in Houston. That’s what I was doing before I came here. There was data processing, mainly of seismic data. Basically, I just sat in front of the computer the whole day, made programs and ran them.”

So you have a background in coding?
“Yeah, I have a little computer science background. The job was more running boxes together, but you needed some kind of computer experience to do it well.”

Where did you graduate from and what degree did you receive?
“I got a Bachelors of Science in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.”

How has your first week with WHS gone?
“It’s been a roller coaster. Teaching is everything I hoped for, but it’s totally obscured by everything. I was just not expecting this amount of work. It’s a lot more stressful and a lot more work than I thought. But thankfully [in] Wayland; I have a really good staff behind me. All the teachers here are great. A lot of them know me from when I was a student here, so it’s definitely cutting down on the stress.”

How do you feel working with high school students?
“They’re good. I really enjoy the enthusiasm and energy they have. Sometimes they get a little rowdy, but I think just as a new teacher I just need to better my teaching skills to keep their focus and their segment. I think that just comes with practice and I think by the end of the year, we’ll be having a good time in Physics.”

What are your goals to achieve here at WHS?
“I want to get the students excited about physics, because that was one takeaway from [my own] junior year. I want to spark their curiosity and get them to ask questions about the world around them.”

img_0240Credit: Masha Yakhkind
Loan Rothschild
How did you begin your interest in teaching?
“I come from a family of educators, as my father was a high school math teacher and my mother was a middle school principal, so education has always been my love and passion.”

What jobs have you done in the past?
“Teaching has been my only job, in the past and present. I have had many years of experience with teaching.”

Where did you graduate from and what degree did you receive?
“I graduated from Boston University, where I received a Bachelor degree in French and Master degree in Education.”

How has your first week with WHS gone?
“My first week with WHS was quite hectic, with new colleagues, new technology, new teaching materials and of course new students.”

How do you feel working with high school students?
“I have taught both middle school and high school students and love both.”

What are your goals here at WHS?
“My goal is mainly to instill in my students the love of the French language and culture.”

dsc_0461-1Credit: Masha Yakhkind
Jeff Brewington
How did you begin your interest in teaching?
“Well, I have little siblings here, and I remember helping them with their homework a lot. In college we had something like the SLC but with tutors there, and I was hired as a tutor. That was always just a feeling I liked to have; helping others understand concepts and subjects. After that, I applied for Teach for America. [After doing] that for two years, I’m now here.”

What jobs have you done in the past?
“As a professional, I’ve only been a teacher, but I’ve [also] been a tutor. I worked in a deli when I was in college, and I worked at Russells. I’ve also worked for a Chemistry-Physical lab doing research with specialty metals.”

Where did you graduate from and what degree did you receive?
“I graduated from Williams College in 2014, and I was a math and chemistry double major.”

How has your first week at WHS gone?
“It’s been good, but it’s a little weird given that I graduated here. But, I didn’t graduate at this school, as I was at the old building, so it’s nice being in a new place. It’s [also] really nice being around people I’ve grown up around. It’s been a great experience.”

How do you feel working with high school students?
“I love it! My favorite part is that no two days are the same because you crazy kids always bring in an extra element, and keep me on my toes. So I think that’s really good, and I enjoy it a lot.”

What are your goals to achieve here at WHS?
“I want to be a teacher that students remember, and more than that. I want them to remember me as a teacher who taught them something or created a safe environment in class. I don’t want to be just the class that you get a good grade in; I want to be the teacher of a class that you remember. That’s my goal.”

unnamed-1Credit: Christopher Dumais
Christopher Dumais
Academic Center Coordinator
What is your new role at WHS?
“I am the new Academic Center coordinator. What that entails is working in the LMC and the Academic Center.”

What sparked your interest in teaching?
“I started teaching in a substituting capacity when I was 18. I then pursued a history degree, and taught history for two years, and then changed gears into a special-education role. But the initial spark would have to be being part of a great high school and a great learning environment. Seeing what wonderful teachers can do and wanting to be a part of that.”

How have your first couple of weeks in your new role been?
“Really well. We’ve exacted a lot of change. My students and colleagues seem to embrace me in this new capacity. But, I’m very advantaged, knowing everyone for three years prior to this. Changing gears into this new role has been wonderful.”

What are your goals for your new role? What do you hope to achieve?
“My goal is to have the [Academic] center be busy during the school day, both during school and in the afternoon. I’m really hoping to broaden the academic school day, and to make sure [students] have the support system both during the school day and after.”

What’s your favorite part about working with students?
“Definitely the “Ah-ha” moments, when a student finally bridges the gap between not-understanding and understanding. That is really inspiring and motivating. Also just being in a school culture where everyone is trying to succeed both academically and socially [is one of my favorite parts of working with students].”

dsc_2847Credit: Duncan Stephenson
Chang Liu
What is your new role at WHS?
“I am the Mandarin teacher for levels two, three and four. I’m also a China exchange program coordinator.”

What sparked your interest in teaching?
“I got my first masters degree [in education] in China. I just finished my second masters degree at Brandeis University this summer, this one in secondary teaching. I wanted to teach here because both of my masters are in education, and I also want to teach my students Chinese culture.”

How have your first couple of weeks in your new role been?
“It has gone well. I’ve been crazy busy and under some pressure, but I think I’ve gotten over it. My students have been great so far.”

What are your goals for your new role? What do you hope to achieve?
“My goal is to expand the Chinese program; hopefully we will have a level five or AP Chinese [Language and Culture] class next year. As for the China exchange program, right now five students [are going to] go to China to experience Chinese culture, but next year I hope nine or 10 students can go.”

What’s your favorite part about working with students?
“My favorite part is playing games with them and doing fun activities. My teaching philosophy is ‘happy learning, happy teaching.’ So, I try to prepare one game or activity for my students every day. I don’t want them to feel bored.”

img_0661Credit: Nandita Subbiah
Mark Nolan
What is your title?
“I am the ALRT lead teacher. [ALRT stands for] Alternative Learning Resource Team.”

What are the duties of your position?
“I work to facilitate communication between general education teachers and the students that I work with as well as their parents. I make sure that everyone is in the loop, keeping track of assignments and making sure that students are staying on top of their work while also managing their anxiety.”

How long have you been teaching?
“I taught for five years and then I was the education director for two years [at the Walden Street School in Concord, Massachusetts]. Now, I’m back to teaching again.”

What is your favorite part of your job?
“I think my favorite part so far is relearning some of the high school material. I like history a lot so helping students with history work has become one of my favorite things to do.”

What is your educational background?
“I did my undergraduate at Seton Hall University [in Psychology], which is in New Jersey, and I received my master’s degree [in education with a concentration in special education] from Framingham State University.”

What inspired you to go into teaching?
“I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and I started working with adolescents at a state hospital facility. I found out I liked teaching better than I liked managing behaviors, so I got what is called a preliminary license and tried some teaching and I enjoyed it so much that I ended up going back and getting my master’s degree and my full licensure as a teacher.”

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of your job?
“Probably the communication piece – making sure that I am talking to the parents, making sure that I am talking to the general education teachers, making sure that I am talking to the guidance counselors, making sure that we are all on the same page and constantly communicating, scheduling meetings. A lot of that stuff is the more challenging part.”

img_0666Credit: Nandita Subbiah
Jennifer Reed
What is your role at at Wayland High School?
“I am a Wellness teacher and I will be teaching 9th and 10th graders throughout the year.”

What did you do before working at WHS?
“I have actually worked in the district as a teaching assistant, so I worked at the middle school for three years and the high school last year.”

Before working in Wayland, did you work anywhere else?
“Yeah, I worked in Philadelphia, where I went to grad school and I was on a healthy eating initiative as well as some stroke prevention initiatives [through Jefferson Hospital for three years].”

What is your educational background?
“I have [a] bachelor’s in health from Quinnipiac University and a master’s in public health with a concentration in community health and prevention from Drexel University.”

What is your favorite part of teaching?
“I love interacting with the students and getting to know them; I think they bring new ideas each class and every student is different and can contribute in different ways.”

What inspired you to go into teaching?
“When I was in grad school, I subbed for some extra money. I just thought I can make more of a difference teaching students at a younger age than when they’re adults when their habits have already changed.”

How has it been adapting to your new role?
“I think that being an assistant has really helped in the classroom [when I’m] the head teacher. I think that I can really engage students better and bring in students who are quieter, who don’t have as much to say and bring them out in different ways.”

Are you making any changes to the curriculum?
“[I am] talking with my colleagues, we all collaborate as one, because we all bring in different ideas. I really like open discussions, [it’s] really important [to] get new ideas from students.”