CAMPUS: Teachers share their wisdom from many years of SCUSD tenure

As some staff members move between different schools, many remain in SCUSD to examine the process of their influences on each campus and school spirit. Various teachers have reflected on their experiences moving between different schools and grade levels. Many acknowledged the specific community each school brings alongside memories of past positions and lessons learned.

After teaching at both Peterson and SCHS, Spanish teacher Amanda Vrabel noticed an issue with overlapping events between the two schools, such as schedules, finals, Back to School Night and Open House.

“Sometimes it almost felt like double obligations, when it came to nights and things you’re supposed to be at,” Vrabel said.

Vrabel also discussed the unrealistic expectations placed on staff while traveling to and from campuses along with additional scheduling. She expressed a general compensation might benefit the staff pursuing their efforts to successfully teach at multiple schools at a time.

“Time wise, it doesn’t pan out to work in an equitable way for the teacher because I’m still expected to have the same number of classes, but it’s not like I’m paid for any extra time,” Vrabel said. “Maybe if they had a travel stipend. It’s better than nothing, but it’s definitely not the equivalent of the extra time that you put in throughout the day to do both schools.”

After contemplating their recollections of the past, multiple teachers shared their appreciation for Santa Clara campus itself. As a former Bruin, physical education teacher, Brett Hall said he strives to create a supportive environment on campus, similar to the one he once felt as a student.

“When you’re able to see those students again, or if they come back to your class and they remember you and the role model that you tried to put out, that’s when you definitely feel like you made an impact,” Hall said. “That’s why you want to stay here, so that they know they can come back and see you and tell you what’s going on in their life.”

Similar to Hall, Spanish teacher Jose Gomar expressed his opinions regarding the importance of being a good example for students and discovering more about the staff.
“You get to learn the culture of the community, you get to learn what people are like, where you work, and then there is a lot of personal growth that goes along with it,” Gomar said. “You become a part of the culture. You become a part of the community if you do stay. If you’re moving from one place to another, you lose sight of that. You lose engagement if you don’t know the people that you’re working with, and you don’t get to learn the lives of your students too.”

After teaching for one year at Washington Open, an elementary school, and transitioning to SCHS, Hall discussed the expectations for new teachers joining a new environment.

“It felt like coming back home to the high school that I graduated from, my Alma Mater, but at the same time it was scary. It was new. It was, ‘What do I expect? What should I do? Who am I supposed to ask?’” Hall said. “You have that idea, too, of you don’t want to look dumb, as if you can’t get with the program right away. You want to come in and be functional right away.”

With the school year coming to end many teachers look forward to spreading positivity in their near future at Santa Clara. Vrabel described the feel of the SCHS community and expressed the reason she stays engaged with the school and inner area herself.

“The job can be very hard and emotional, and it’s nice when you see the continuity of staff that stays here because they have stuck it out and they have been through the ups and downs too. You find those people very relatable, so I value that a lot. It would be hard for me to ever give that up,” Vrabel said.