What have your teachers been up to?

Take a look into what your teachers have been doing during the COVID-19 break.


Gwen Watson

Math teacher James Kirpes passes out information about an upcoming competition to math club members.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, life has been a little less than normal. To stay safe, individuals cannot go to restaurants, the movies or the mall. Even a bike ride with a couple of friends can be dangerous. Boredom has hit students so hard that they miss school and their teachers. So, to bring some light into this tough situation, here is an insight into what teachers have been doing to stay active and build community during this unusual time. 

  1. Twitter: If you scroll through Twitter, you might see Principal Gregg Shoultz retweeting a chain of videos with teachers from different departments waving back to fellow teachers and students. It all started off with the science department, which challenged the English department, which challenged the math department, which then challenged the social studies department. Now it’s special ed’s turn. 
  2. Zoom/Canvas: Multiple teachers have been utilizing Zoom and Canvas to converse with and provide resources to students. They are working hard in order to continue students’ learning outside of school. 
  3. Recommendations: During this time, teachers have been able to catch up on books, movies and shows. Social studies teacher Dominic Iannone bought a stack of books during spring break and recommends “Brunelleschi’s Dome”  by Ross King and “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman. Math teacher Karen Meyer recommends the movie “Just Mercy” after watching it with her family. French teacher Theresa Juhl recommends the Netflix series “Salt, Fat, Heat and Acid.” 
  4. Games/Challenges: Some teachers have started up some games and challenges for their students to participate in. Art teachers are challenging students to design a t-shirt and social studies teacher Gary Neuzil is putting up weekly challenges on Canvas. One of his challenges embraces food, as students are encouraged to cook or bake up a snack and send over a picture. The best food wins and earns a “print-at-home certificate.” Language arts teacher John Cooper is also currently working on putting in place an online gaming space with science teacher Dominic Audia for students to interact on. 
  5. Kids/Pets: Now that teachers have to spend most of their time at home, they get to spend more time with their kids and pets. Science teacher Jennifer Eustice has an eight and six year old doing art projects, math and reading. The kids are also participating in zoom gymnastics and dance classes. Eustice also brought home the class leopard gecko, Kai Kai. Science teacher Maureen Head gets to spend some time with her newborn baby while continuously changing his diaper and having him play with a Fisher-Price play mat. Neuzil has ten dogs at home that keep him forever busy. 
  6. Activities: Although stuck at home, our teachers still strive to stay active. Math teacher Joye Walker walks around the neighborhood for an hour every morning and loves to garden. She also loves to cook and has tried her hand at baking some new recipes, adoring how her white whole wheat bread came out. Cooper also decided to try some recipes after he watched “The Great British Baking Show,” baking up brownies, cookies and cakes.  


A message from your teachers:

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I want not only my students but all of West High to know that each and everyone is important, that I care, I worry, and want them to be safe and healthy. I also want my students to know that they need to take care of themselves psychologically and socially. They are not alone, and our school is a community and a family. I want them to reach out and make new connections in order that every single student would not be alone.

— Social studies teacher Gary Neuzil

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Focus on the opportunities that this provides. Right now there is no pressure for grades or due dates so really tune in to what you are pulled to do each day and what or who you really miss each day. Use these as signals for what you want to build your future around and who you want to stay close to for the rest of your life.

— Jennifer Eustice

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I hope everyone is finding their rhythm in all of this and making the most of it.

— Math teacher Karen Meyer

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Teachers have spent countless hours and countless Zoom conversations/emails trying to figure out how to best support you all.  We miss you and not being at school is really hard. Please reach out if you need anything – we want to help in any way we can.

— Science teacher Maureen Head

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I want my students to know that I miss each and every one of them and miss seeing them daily. I am really excited for our first Zoom meeting because I want to see their faces and smiles and hear their voices. I also want them to know that I care very much about their math learning and will do whatever I can to ensure that they are able to move forward into calculus.

— Math teacher Joye Walker

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It is a completely normal feeling to be worried about all the things we don’t know. It is important to take care of your health and well being before anything else. It is always okay to reach out to someone when the worry is overwhelming, and I would encourage students to look for ways to connect with each other as much as possible.

— French teacher Theresa Juhl

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This is tough on everyone. I miss you. Hang in there.

— Social studies teacher Dominic Iannone

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I love you all, and we will make it through.

— Language arts teacher John Cooper