Veteran teachers adjust to new classrooms

September 24, 2018 — by Nitya Marimuthu and Howard Tang

Students visiting their former teachers after a long summer may have found their teachers relocated after playing a large game of “musical classrooms” over the summer.

This relocation was part of an effort to place teachers closer to their department colleagues following the departures of former teachers, principal Paul Robinson said.

Five veteran teachers have new rooms this year: P.E. and history teacher Richard Ellis, English teacher Susanna Ryan, history teacher Faith Stackhouse-Daly, Spanish teacher Sarah Voorhees and math and engineering teacher Audrey Warmuth.

“Teachers within the same department like to be close to one another because they support each other in many ways,” Robinson said. “While it's ideal to do that, we also don't like to move people out of a room they've had unless it's absolutely necessary.”

For teachers with so-called split schedules in which they teach different subjects on different days, moving around is common. Both Ellis and Warmuth have a lot of experience migrating between classrooms. Since both of them split time between one subject that has a designated area (P.E. for Ellis and engineering for Warmuth) and another core subject (US history for Ellis and AP Calculus BC for Warmuth), they only use their rooms for a few periods, making room allocations more complicated. Ellis and Warmuth are sharing Room 304 this year, since both need a non-designated classroom during only part of each school day.

This new teaching schedule has been more convenient for Warmuth compared to previous years. In the past, Warmuth had to switch between the engineering room on one side of the campus and her math classroom on the other side of the campus, making it hard to prepare for classes.

“I had to walk across campus every period, and a teacher would come in right after I was done,” Warmuth said, “so even if I were at the end of my day, I would have to leave again so someone could teach. And then, I would have to circle back later to clean up my room and get ready for the next day.”

This year, she no longer needs to switch classrooms on even-period days, because she is in the engineering room for the whole day. On odd-period days, she is in the engineering room for first period only, after which she switches back to the Room 304.

“I can stay in the room to grade my math homework and prepare my math,” Warmuth said. “I could get my work done when I’m still thinking about math, which is really nice, so this year is much better than last year.”

For her part, Ryan moved into the more spacious Room 003 this August after English teacher Carrie Bohls left the school for another job at the end of last year. Ryan said she is still moving her belongings even after spending her summer to setting up the new classroom.

While Ryan misses her old room — Room 408 — because it was so close to the quad and many school activities, she hopes Room 003 will maintain a similar atmosphere, especially after the new student/wellness center is built.

“I know it will be really nice when this construction is done; there’s going to be a lot going on [near my room] which will make it feel more central,” Ryan said. “It’s a good move, but any move is hard, even if it’s a good one.”


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