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First-year teachers reflect on school year

As their first year of teaching at FC concludes, teachers Jennifer Oren and Eric Witters look back and reflect on their first year. Oren came in mid-first semester as a part-time teacher to relieve science and Chinese teacher Dan Harris of the stress of being a new father. Meanwhile, junior high teacher Witters replaced former English and history teacher Natalie Douty and took on the role of leading the annual seventh grade LA Trip.

Witters has learned a lot from his first year of teaching, and has had many ups and downs.

“The hardest part has been having to deal with the students’ expectations of what they think they can learn, and my expectations of how I want them to learn,” Witters said. “On the flip side, the Funnest part is spending time with the kids and seeing them grow. Not just educationally, but watching them grow and mature through life. There’s a lot of growth in junior high that can be seen outside of academics.”

At the high-school level, Oren has said that the biggest difference between her former teaching years and teaching here at FC has been the ability to openly express her faith.

“Being able to pray with the students before class and big events to help us focus on what Christ would do, rather than what the world would do has been the biggest difference,” Oren said. “Knowing that we can stop and reflect on his {God’s} hope has in any challenge has been a great privilege.”

Students throughout the school are very grateful and appreciative of these new teachers. Both high school and junior high students have benefited immensely from the teachers’ presentation of the information and appreciate all their hard work. Specifically, chemistry student Nick Fontes, ’15.

“She {Oren} has done a good job because she has taken pressure off of Mr. Harris to be the whole science department,” Fontes said. “I really think that she has helped me learn chemistry by making herself available for questions that I or other students may have.”

Witters has impacted the junior high in similar ways as well. Eighth grader Noah Madison says Witters has helped him learn the criteria in a unique way. Witters’ passion for teaching and for the kids has rolled over into a great teaching success and has helped the kids prepare for the high school level.

“He’s {Witters} more of a fun person,” Madison said. “His personality and his energy makes us excited to learn everyday. When he’s teaching he gives us the standards for high school and the essays we write he grades appropriately for the high school level.”

As the teachers dive into their second year of teaching, both Witters and Oren are excited of what the new year will bring. Witters will use his knowledge from the first year to change how he will present the material.

“Acedmeically I’d teach most of the same content,” Witters said. “But in terms of classroom interactions, it would be different. Obviously there’s new kids every year, and finding ways to interact and reach the kids is very different.”

Meanwhile, Oren is excited to expand her schedule, as she anticipates teaching new classes and teaching method.

“I am excited about teaching Zoology and AP {Advanced Placement} Biology,” Oren said. “Zoology is very fun with a lot of labs and dissection of organisms. AP Biology is a great class because its students are highly motivated to learn and includes lots of labs that are interesting and enlightening. For all my classes students will do journals so they can keep their work to review for tests and finals as well as see their progress through the year.”

For more features, read the May 17 article, Little-known instrument makes appearance in video game.

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