What has been your best teaching experience?
“I took 19 kids to Honduras two summers ago. We spent a week in the rainforest and a week in the coral reefs. We helped scientists with their projects and learned a lot of research techniques.” —Thaler, eighth year teaching
“I had a slacker student. [He] barely passed my tests, [and he] did his work late or barely at all. But on the last day of school last year, he came to my office and said ‘Ms. Durquet, your class is the best class I’ve ever had at Paly. I was always paying attention to your lectures. They totally influenced my own artwork. You are the only teacher who has let me doodle the whole class period, and you never called my parents to complain about it.’” —Durquet, 20+ years teaching
If you had to be stranded in a country, which one would it be?
“I would probably pick the Netherlands because it’s like a community that really watches out for each other. But in New Zealand, I could fulfill that backpackers dream.” —Schroeppel, seventh year teaching
“If New Orleans counted as a country, I would say New Orleans.” —Kovacich, first year teaching
What is your best high school memory?
“I made the winning goal for my high school to go to CCS.” —Chai, sixth year teaching
“Fall football. Friday nights.” —Lee, sixth year teaching
“My history [class] at Paly–to manipulate the trenches in World War I, we had to crawl along the grass and we each had a flour bomb; if we got hit by water then we were dead.” —Solomon, fourth year teaching
“One time, a deaf boy went to his first dance. He heard but couldn’t really hear the drums. [So] he got down on the floor and everyone just kind of danced around him, and he was really happy.” —Tucker, fifth year teaching
Why did you become a teacher?
“I really love working with kids, and that’s what keeps me teaching. It’s not the [work]. It’s the kids.” —Elderon, fourth year teaching
“I can actually recall that exact day, sitting in kindergarten, that I thought, ‘I want to do this.’ I really liked being able to help clarify things to other students.” —Kovacich, first year teaching
“I [want] to give students opportunities to use a [foreign] language. I believe that the best way to learn a language is to use every opportunity and to gain experience with using it.” —Lu, 14th year teaching
“This might sound a little odd, but originally my goal was to open up my own backpacking [company]. That way I could combine my geography interests with my language interests, by leading tours to volcanoes and at the same time having my own language school.” —Schroeppel, seventh year teaching
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
“My husband, as he has been a principal, has taught me to work hard, accept challenges [and] makes sure that I meet all the needs of all my diverse students.” —Smith, 26th year teaching
“I had a really great grad school mentor when I was getting my master’s degree in environmental education. He was really enthusiastic. He loves science and education.” —Thaler, eighth year
During which time period would you most want to live?
“I think it would be interesting to live in a simpler time, like Colonial America in the 1700’s. I’d probably be a farmer.” —Elfving, fifth year teaching
“After World War I, because I would be home from the war and be able to afford a house.” —Romano, eighth year teaching
“Early 90’s. The cost of living is cheap, the music is good and cell phones don’t control our lives.” —Saunders, first year teaching