Mrs. Waldron, CB West English Department
“I think we all know that teaching is not for the weak of heart. The schedule is demanding, the work load can be punishing, but I think I can speak for most of us when I say that the best part of the job is sharing what we love with really great kids. There are so many wonderful moments for me that happen with the students. Sometimes when we are all discussing a book and even the most reluctant readers are captivated by the story, there is an energy in the room that seems unique to a high school classroom. When 30 sophomores are arguing about the end of Catcher in the Rye, I feel like I have the best job in the world. I am lucky. I get to read books and discuss them, or delve into plays and perform them with kids who are passionate about the works. I share literature with students for a living. I don’t know if there is anything better than that.”
Mrs. Kuntzmann, Lenape Middle School Guidance Department
“Our job, as educators, has certainly changed dramatically since I started working in CB more than 30 years ago. The world in which we live and work is nearly unrecognizable from those early years. But essentially, the kids are still the same. They still need to feel cared about, supported and valued. They need to feel that they have a voice, and that someone is listening. For some children, school is the only place where that happens for them. Often, the kids that are the hardest to like, are the ones that need us the most. In CB we talk a lot about the ‘R’s’ in education: Rigor, Relevance, Relationships, and Resiliency, but without the Relationships, none of the others are possible. Teachers in CB make a concerted effort to establish meaningful relationships within their school communities, and as a result, we make a difference in the lives of our students every day.”
Mrs. Welch, Tohickon Middle School Autistic Support
"I love my job. People so often say, 'I could never do what you do!' But the students I work with are amazing, creative, and bright. We have ups and downs in the classroom, but when they come to me as 7th graders and leave me after 9th grade, I see how much they've grown and learned. It makes it all worth it. I can't imagine doing anything else."
Mr. Weaver, speaking about Mrs. Besack, both in the CB West Social Studies Department:
“Christie isn’t a teacher. She is a mom, a guidance counselor, and a political moderator in disguise. She is the quick-witted, hilarious, brilliant, and down-to-earth voice in classes that demand that myriad of personalities. Everyone on our faculty can point to a time they’ve overheard a student say, ‘I just need to talk to Ms. Besack.’ She can mediate, give suggestions, and (when called for) shoot straight and say, ‘Sorry, but it’s your fault, and it’s time to accept it.’ In doing this, Christie models how to resolve conflicts by resolving them herself. Her demeanor – calm, collected, and realistic – is an example for students of how to handle themselves in the most stressful or emotional of times.”
Mrs. Fox, Tohickon Middle School Nurse
“It always makes me pause to reflect when I call a newer student’s parent and upon hearing that the school nurse is calling, the initial response is ‘oh no, the school nurse! What’s the matter?’ Obviously, yes, I do care for students when they become ill or injured at school, but the majority of what I do to support student health and wellness is behind the scenes. I truly believe that in order to be a fully engaged student, one must strive to be their best mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel privileged to be in a job to nurture that level of wellness.
As the school nurse, I have the unique role of being the sole health professional/educator on campus. Meeting with every student annually for their state mandated screening, helping the parent of a student at risk find the right treatment plan, easing the emotional concerns of an anxious student so he/she can get back to class, caring for a staff member injured at work, or advocating for a student during a multi-discipline meeting are some of the ways I work within the school community.
One of my newer and totally fun activities is working with students planning, planting, nurturing, and harvesting our school garden. I enjoy wearing the ‘many hats’ that my role demands and not just the traditional ‘nursing cap.’”
Miss Roth and Mrs. Mancini, Tamanend Middle School English Department
"When we tell people what we do, people often groan and say that’s a tough job, but we love teaching middle school. The kids make us laugh every day. As English teachers, it is so much fun when a movie comes out for popular books, like the Hunger Games series, and the kids are so excited to see it. We use that enthusiasm to get the kids excited about reading and hopefully willing to try other books. We think young adult literature is awesome!"
Mrs. Semisch, CB West English Department
Going to class is a little like eating in a restaurant: people often think, “Gee, I bet I could run one of these even better myself.” Few put that supposition to the test. Those who do learn the grim truth—it’s exponentially harder than it looks.
The classroom is where illusions go to die and in their place, there grows a clear-eyed conviction, rooted in love, that all kids can learn.
Because it looks easier than it is, there are a number of false notions circulating out there about teachers and teaching. Here is what I know to be true:
1. Teachers know what they must teach and that varies from one class of live, roiling human beings to the next.
2. Teachers who care about their work get better every year, for they have more experience with which to refine their skills.
3. The best teaching is inspiration. Create a hunger of curiosity inside a fellow human being, and that person will feed himself, devouring banquets of books and thoughts.
4. What can be tested means very little. The spirit of intellectual curiosity, courage, and patience are what matter.
5. Teachers need freedom, support, collaboration, and time.
6. Neither teaching nor learning can be standardized, any more than human beings can (or should).
We Central Bucks teachers enjoy the richest kind of good fortune in that our students arrive ready to learn. Their parents have read to them, have spoken to them, have nurtured them, and have instilled in them a respect for learning. Then they entrust those children and young adults to us, a weighty privilege and sacred trust.
What we do with that trust is precisely what parents do with the pre-school years. We strive to give each individual kid the richest, most stimulating, most fascinating, most challenging feast of ideas and tasks, seeking to maximize each kid’s potential. It’s thrilling and arduous work. Like owning a restaurant, the hours are long, the work is hard, and the potential for failure is great.
But when our students push away from the table, replete with fascination and hungry for more of the most nourishing kinds of knowledge, we know that we have nurtured and inspired the people who will make the world in which our grandchildren will live.
Then we head back into the kitchen, break out the books, and prepare a brand new feast.
Mark Hayden, CB West Science Department
“I think one of the most important things teachers do is teach students how to acquire and respond to feedback. These skills make learning and change possible.”
Mrs. McPhee, Doyle Elementary 6th Grade Teacher
“I was very excited to receive an Innovative Learning Grant from CB Cares. The grant helped pay for gardening supplies for the Gardening to Give project at Children’s Village, part of Doylestown Hospital. Seventeen 6th grade students and myself are participating in weekly meetings after school where we have helped tear down the old garden, prepare the soil for the new gardens, and plant seeds and seedlings. Our goal is to learn about gardening, mentor the students at Children’s Village about caring for a garden, and share their bounty with the local food pantry.”
Karen Houser, Groveland Elementary School Art Department
"The love of art and the artistic process begins at a very early age. Art is the first language; the first method of visual communication. Through art, we are able to learn about the past and the history of early cultures. We as elementary art educators have the responsibility of developing and encouraging the artistic process so that students can nurture and continue to use their talent and love of art through their secondary education experience, and into adulthood. Although art production is an important aspect of art class, of equal importance is the study of aesthetics, personal expression, art history, criticism, and cross-curricular integration into other subject areas. These standards employ the use of essential creative thinking skills in our students, enabling them to take risks as they problem solve. I am honored to have the important task of nurturing young creative minds and encouraging the love of art in my elementary students! How fun is my job? I get to play and create art with kids everyday!"
Madison Van Houten, Barclay, Warwick, and Titus Elementary Art Department
"I just completed my first year teaching. I am also CB graduate, which makes me extra appreciative of this awesome opportunity. Although my days are filled with traveling to three different schools and many different classes, I always make time for displaying student artwork throughout the halls. Having artwork in the halls shows pride in our young artists and spreads knowledge of arts throughout the building.
In any type of education, I believe it is important to collaborate with other studies to stretch a student’s thinking outside the room they are in. In art especially, it is important to make real life connections. Therefore, I love to collaborate with different subject areas with our art projects. Most recently, I have collaborated with library to intertwine literacy and research in the art students are creating. I also connect to what they are learning in their classrooms: history, math, and even some science. Art is a great universal tool to connect to so many different outlets in education.
Thank you to all the families who put their beliefs into the art programs here at CB. Promoting school involvement, especially with the arts, is what keeps the community alive."