Teachers out of temporaries

West High math teachers who have recently moved from temporary classrooms to inside the school building share their thoughts on the change.

While the opening of Liberty High School has definitely had an impact on the West High student population, the staff size has decreased as well. This has resulted in empty classrooms, allowing many teachers who once taught in the temporary classrooms outside of West to move into the building. Three math teachers shared their thoughts about the move inside with WSS:

Math teacher Karen Meyer said she was one of the first teachers to move into the temporaries while working part time at West High about five years ago. Although it wasn’t her choice to teach in a temporary initially, she believes the experience was beneficial.

“There’s a lot of benefits to being in the temporaries. First of all, it’s climate-controlled. And it made the school feel more like a campus,” she said. “So for the kids that came out to our classrooms in the temporary, they were going outside all the time and I think there’s a benefit to that .… I could open up both doors and the wind was blowing through. You felt like you were a part of a bigger campus rather than an enclosed school. So I always thought it was a benefit out there.”

But Meyer believes how the students respond to temporary classrooms depends on the teacher’s attitude.

“I was all about the temps and I was always excited about it,” she said. While her experiences in the temporaries were positive, Meyer isn’t upset by her move inside the school. “Change is never easy for people,” she said, “but once you decide that it’s going to be, change is good.”

Math teacher Jon Bach, who taught in a temporary classroom for one year is also happy with the change because his teaching style relies heavily on board space, something he believes was lacking in the temporaries.

“From an educational perspective, in order to get students involved in the learning process, I need space for them to write solutions to various problems and it just was not there,” he said.

Now that he’s back inside the school, Bach is able to enjoy more board space, along with taller ceilings and more windows.

“They’re eight foot ceilings [in the temporaries]. There are very few windows and that aspect I really didn’t like .… The ceilings are high, there´s a lot of windows [in my new classroom]. The other benefit is I have a couple different mediums here. I’ve got chalk boards in the back which I use routinely and I [have a] smartboard up front. Last year I didn’t have the luxury of space,” he said.

While unsure whether the change in classroom will make a difference in her students’ learning teacher Joye Walker believes the increased amount of classroom space will have a positive effect.

“I think students can learn better when they have just a little bit more open space,” she said. “And I also think it’s more comfortable for them to come and ask questions . . . They don’t have to trek all the way out [to the temporary]. They just can stop in at lunch time or after school or whatever. So I think in that sense it´s going to help increase learning. I have a bigger work area, so if somebody wants come up [to my desk] and work on something for awhile, I feel like I have a lot bigger of a space to do that than what I had before.”

While the temperature in the temporary classrooms can be controlled, Walker says the opening and closing of the door in the winter makes it harder to do so..

“[Constantly opening and closing doors] lets in a tremendous amount of cold air. So it´s chilly for awhile. It recovers pretty fast, but you do see these fluctuations in temperature because of opening and closing,” she said.

“I feel like when I’m in the building, with all this extra interaction, that’s a good thing, but it also takes away from time that I would’ve gotten other things done. But I think it’s a good trade. I’d rather have to deal with a few extra things to do at a different time, but enjoy this interaction with other people. I’m really happy to be back in the building,” she said.