Miss Smrek sits at her desk amid the hectic, almost crazed noise fest that is a birthday celebration in the Social Studies office at Blair. She is decked out in jeans, a comfortable looking pink sweatshirt and an easy, enthusiastic smile, a trend pleasingly common among educators today. She looks like a perfect fit for a teacher of psychology, a seemingly casual and hopefully fun subject. And if it isn't fun, she'll make it fun.
Eight- year-old MaryAnn Dvorsky stands up in front of her classroom, ready to assign the evening's homework. "Tonight's assignment will be from your workbook, problems one through ten." The bell suddenly rings, signaling the end of the school day. Dvorsky announces, "Class dismissed!" with a clap of her hands and escorts her Barbie dolls out of a makeshift school house in her living room.
Every morning, Ms. Desiree Balla goes to room 345 to teach. She finishes her day at eleven o'clock with a smile. She enjoys the time she spends in class, bettering the lives of her pupils and making a meaningful contribution to their future. She has been teaching at Montgomery Blair High School for seven years, and hopes to continue her beneficial contributions to the students here.
Darcy Sloe is a slim, attractive brunette with an easygoing smile. With her athletic build and boundless energy, she could easily be mistaken for the tennis coach at Blair, a position she actually held 11 years ago. Today her friendly disposition and brisk manner constitute the perfect formula for a high school biology teacher. Sloe has been working at Blair for 14 years and could not be happier with her present situation.
David West has taught Nation State Local Government at Montgomery Blair High School for the past nine years of his teaching career. West also taught at Seneca Valley High for four years and at Wooton High for one year. He chose to come to Blair because of the "especially friendly, motivated, and skilled teachers."
According to first- year U.S. History teacher Amy Thomas, teaching is not an easy job. Teachers are under a lot of pressure to cover the required topics in an obligatory format. They must try not to leave any students behind. Teachers must be very dedicated to help their students succeed.
Magnet math teacher Eric Walstein sat behind his tidy desk as a few students trickled in quietly for his first period class. His stern face was intimidating at first glance, but once he began to speak, his light and cheerful demeanor brightened his serious image.
Though David L. Swaney has only been a part of the Montgomery Blair community since 1997, the NSL/ AP Comparative Government teacher has been able to find the diverse atmosphere that he had always wanted. Swaney was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he strived to make the best of the non- diverse environment that he wasn't truly content with.
What is it about talking to a teacher out of class that makes it so un-comfortable for a student? For the most part, students look at their teachers as people with whom they are forced to put up with everyday, whose names' begin with either mister, miss or misses and above all, are boring people who live at school. Without much probing, however, it becomes obvious that the teachers here at Montgomery Blair High School are in fact a colorful bunch.
Suzanne Harvey, a staff development at Montgomery Blair High School, grew up in Cecil County, Maryland. She was raised in the same house her father was born and died in. Harvey received her elementary education in a two-room school house. She was an intelligent child always ahead of her grade. She completed elementary school early but had to stay for the rest of fifth grade and was therefore assigned to help younger children having problems in reading or math. This helped her because, as she puts it,
ESOL teacher Ailish Zompa did not realize that she wanted to become a teacher until college. Even though her mother was a teacher, Zompa had always thought she would become a journalist. Luckily, she chose to teach instead. She is now an ESOL teacher at Blair and is very happy with the path her career has taken.
Growing up in a small New England town, E.S.O.L. teacher Natalie Waltz had seen very little of the world. "It was very homogeneous; almost exclusively middle class and white," she commented on her hometown of Newtown, Connecticut. Waltz knew that she wanted to see the world and show it to others through teaching.
In her next life, Blair Spanish teacher Dora Gonzalez wants to be a singer. That would be a shame, because she clearly has a passion for teaching. While she admits that singing would be more exciting "in some areas,” she says that teaching is her true calling.
Jake Scott, 28, has been at Blair for five years in the math department teaching algebra, geometry and pre-calculus. In Scott's classroom students feel a type of relief because of his laid back approach toward teaching. If a person doesn't understand a certain aspect of what he is covering he will slow down in order to leave no one behind. Scott makes sure everyone is learning the material because he cares more about a person walking away with knowledge than having a bunch of unanswered questions.
Jacob Joseph Lee never met his parents. Foster parents took him in at 2 months old, changing his life for the better. As a teacher, Lee is inspired and determined to spread the kindness he had experienced in his youth to all his students.
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