New teachers adjust to new district, in-person learning

Teacher+Marta+Yang+assists+student+with+an+class+assignment.+Fun+fact+about+Yang%2C+she+grew+up+in+KCK+and+attended+USD+500+schools+her+whole+life.

Avery Roellchen

Teacher Marta Yang assists student with an class assignment. Fun fact about Yang, she grew up in KCK and attended USD 500 schools her whole life.

Audrey Menzies, Co Editor-In-Chief

After countless months of online education, students as well as teachers are transitioning back into full in-person learning. Last year was filled with an empty, desolate school building, so it is exciting for both teachers and students to be back in the classroom. 

Teachers and administrators are commonly overlooked while thinking about the transition back to in-person learning, but teachers like English teacher Martha Yang are not only transitioning in-person, but also transitioning into a new school. 

“I would say starting out at a new school, what’s a little bit difficult is trying to learn how the school runs, normally without COVID and the pandemic, but also what are the protocols with COVID,” Yang said. 

New staff expressed their appreciation for the support they’ve felt throughout the beginning of the school year. 

“It was really refreshing and exciting to be back,” Yang said. “It was a little bit tough to start off with, but I feel like everyone here like the students, staff and all the teachers just made it really easy. Everyone was really easy to talk to and everyone gave me the information I needed.”

Since every school’s approach to scheduling classes with COVID-19 was different, new teachers are also having to adjust to how specifically Piper students learned last year. 

“I think just being at a new school, no matter what time it is or what was happening previously, it is just tough,” said math teacher Tara Thacker. “I feel like a first-year teacher all over again and it’s definitely an adjustment for me.”

“I feel like a first-year teacher all over again and it’s definitely an adjustment for me.””

— Tara Thacker

Thacker taught almost completely in-person last year which differs from a majority of Piper students.

“I think that since everybody here was mostly online last year, the students have different experiences that they’re coming from,” Thacker said. “That’s been kind of an adjustment for me, but at least I’m used to teaching in-person right now so that hasn’t been too bad.”

Being a teacher at a new school has its challenges, but an additional challenge for Spanish teacher Chace Penner is that this is his first year teaching. 

“I was taking my classes online as well as teaching online, and it just felt like I wasn’t getting the connection that I want to have with my students, which is why I was excited to teach and to be with the students,” Penner said. “Having my first semester of student teaching online was definitely a bit challenging, but now it makes teaching now a lot better. I was already happy about teaching at the beginning, but now that I’m in person it makes this year almost twice better.”

When looking for a new school to teach at, many teachers took into account the school’s beliefs and initiatives. 

“I did some research on Piper, and a lot of the initiatives and things that they seem to care about are things that are really important to me as well,” Thacker said. “Some of the values that Piper posted on their website were really important to me as well. So I just felt like my own opinions aligned with what was going on in the school and what the district valued as well.”