New English 12 teacher splits time between SHS and LGHS

September 13, 2021 — by Apurva Chakravarthy and Tara Natarajan
English 12 teacher Mollie Hicok Parker

In her more than two decades of teaching, Mollie Hicok Parker has only ever taught at one school at a given time — until this year. Teaching seniors at Saratoga High on Red Days and freshmen at Los Gatos High on Blue Days means double the number of classrooms, new names and faces to learn and department meetings. 

Although Hicok Parker knew what the role would entail when the district when she was hired, she has still faced a steep but fun learning curve to this new mode of teaching. It’s not uncommon for Hicok Parker to momentarily forget which school she’s teaching at for that day or which school she has her meeting at. She said she found it difficult to manage two different keys, classroom setups and staff members to get to know. 

Regardless, she said she has been cherishing this new teaching experience and all that she is learning from it, saying that she finds it interesting to see how the school district operates on both sites simultaneously. 

Hicok Parker attended Westminster College, where she majored in English and minored in Communications and Women’s and Gender studies. She further developed her love for English literature while studying abroad on the Crenshaw Scholarship at the University of Winchester in the U.K. during her junior year. After returning to the States and receiving her degree, she started tutoring at a writing lab in her college. 

Upon graduation, she continued to tutor students from Central-American migrant farming families in Watsonville and soon began to teach as a substitute teacher in the North Monterey County Unified School District, later becoming a beloved middle school teacher there for more than a dozen years before getting this job at the high school level. As an educator, she has drawn on her experiences organizing drama productions, volunteering at women’s centers and organizing fundraisers, speaker series and colloquiums. 

A huge part of teaching is being able to communicate with people and organizations, so honing these skills early on really helped build my passion for teaching,” Hicok Parker said. “Helping students understand how to write an essay or understand a text was the catalyst to my current career.”

Before this year, Hicok Parker had spent her years at North Monterey County as a middle school teacher. Accepting the position at the LGSUHSD district allowed her to make the transition to high school teaching that she had been wanting to for a while.

So far, she is busy meeting her daily challenges. One difficulty with her split schedule is that she isn’t available for tutorial on Blue Days for her seniors, but she has tried to find alternative modes of communication such as email with them.

Despite the difficulties, Hicok Parker has enjoyed her seniors and is trying to get them ready to perform well in college.

“I hope that students experience thoughtful discussions that lead them to consider the world outside of Saratoga,” she said. “I hope they find their voice and develop it through both writing and speaking — and listening. Sometimes we forget that part.”