New Teachers Reflect on First Six Months

By Katrina Bakhl’15 and Jennifer Xu’15
Diversity along with a welcoming and supporting staff are some of the things the new teachers at Midwood have been enjoying so far.
“I have loved my experience here so far, in fact, at the end of the day, I feel excited for the next day,” said Ms. Maria Feehan, with a big smile.
Ms. Feehan, the new Spanish teacher, taught at Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School before joining the foreign language department here.
“We get to work as a team,” said Ms.Feehan. “They are supportive and I get to learn a lot from them.”
Because Ms. Feehan teaches Spanish at different levels she has to do more work at Midwood, but enjoys the challenge.
Ms. Kimberly Lau, the new Chemistry teacher and a new member of the Physical Science Department, loves teaching at Midwood so far.
Ms.Lau says she loves the staff here. She is an alumnus and gets to work with her previous science teachers.
“The staff, working with my old teachers, I find it cool,” said Ms.Lau. “There is a lot more diversity here in Midwood.”
Ms. Danielle D’Amota, the new English teacher, has also been enjoying her experience so far.
This year is her first year teaching, and she said she is constantly learning from her students.
“It’s a very big school, with lots of students. You are able to get a better feel of different learners and what their needs are,” she said.
Because there are only 44 minutes in a period, she says it’s difficult for her to go in depth with certain things.
Also experiencing her first year at teaching is Ms.Lisa Ali, the new Robotics and Autocad teacher.
“I have been having a surreal experience so far,” said Ms.Ali.
She said she is enjoying the great school, environment, and great kids.
Ms. Jenessa Kornaker, the new Earth Science teacher, used to teach at Brooklyn School for Music and Theater. “I like that the students here seem to be more concerned about their academic performance than where I used to teach,” she said.
Although Ms.Kornaker has enjoyed her experience so far, she says the crowded halls make her walk to class difficult.
� -Ms.Andrea Diamond, the new Global History teacher, is also an aluminus. Previously she taught at Abraham Lincoln High School.
“I was craving intellectual stimulation. I feel like this school has a balance, there are sports, academics and clubs,” she said. ‘Everything is well run and organized.”
Ms.Diamond participated in many school activities when she attended Midwood, including SING.
“I feel like I’m home. I feel this positive energy and when I walk through the halls and when I see SING, it brings back all the memories,” she said.
Mr.Max Zamor, the new Trigonometry and Financial Algebra teacher, has had a positive experience, too.
“It’s been amazing really,” he said. ‘I have gotten the chance to teach students across the board and have even gotten the chance to create a new curriculum this semester, financial algebra.”
Before he came to teach at Midwood, he taught at a smaller school. “At Midwood, the diversity is undeniably unequivocal,” he said.
Mr.Zamor has also graduated from Midwood, another alumini to join the staff.
“I know Midwood has a reputation of shaping students to the best of their ability, giving them a range of courses and that’s exactly what I found when I came here,” he said.
Mr. Falk, a math teacher, who has been teaching for 15 years, expected a well-rounded student body.
Mr. Lechillgrien, a special education teacher (having already taught at four schools), says he expected a lot of good things. His father was also a Midwood graduate of the class of 1970.
Ms. Sherman, an algebra and geometry teacher, heard good things about the school from friends who are now her colleagues.
“I had a positive outlook coming in and I still have a positive outlook,” she said.
On the contrary, Ms. Lisa Ali who teaches Robotics and AutoCAD didn’t know what to expect, since she did not have prior teaching experience.
Ms. Ali says she is still getting adjusted, but had a favorable point of view from the beginning.
“No fears, just excitement,” she said.
Mr. Adam Lechillgrien didn’t find adjusting to the student body population difficult. He had previously taught at Fort Hamilton High School, which consist of approximately 4,500 students.
An upside for most of these teachers are (as Mr. Lechillgrien refers to them) the “veteran teachers”.
“I’ve never gotten this much support in a building before,” he said.
Ms. Ali agreed. She has met really nice teachers and is grateful to have Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek as a mentor.
Ms. Jessica Sherman only had 85 students in her old school. She says it is a lot busier here with more papers to grade and kids to assist, but she gets to meet a lot of different people with different cultures.
“I’ve been in small schools before with no collaboration with other math teachers. I made a lot of friends here and I love it,” she said.
Overall, these teachers had pleasant things to say about their experiences at Midwood so far. From the looks of it, many expectations were met and some were even exceeded.
Timmy Dhakaia ’15 and Jasmine Kingston ’15 contributed to this article.

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