The Pitch

WJ welcomes new teachers from various backgrounds


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This year, WJ welcomed a multitude of new teachers. These teachers come from all different backgrounds and cover a wide variety of subjects. Let’s meet three of this year’s brand new teachers.

 

Marie Collier, English teacher:

Why did you choose to work at WJ?

“I worked previously at North Bethesda Middle School, so when a position came up for Walter Johnson, I knew the community, I knew some of the kids, and I wanted to move up to high school, so it seemed like a good fit.”

What are you most excited about for this upcoming year?

“Just growing and learning as a teacher myself and helping students get to where they need to be for college.”

How have you been treated by the other staff members so far?

“Fabulous. Everyone has taken me under their wing, coming in to check on me. Everyone has been very welcoming, very receptive to any ideas that I have, so it’s been great.”

How do you like the students so far?

“Love the students. In each one of my classes, I have a sprinkling or a handful of students that I taught in sixth grade, so it’s been a great transition to have some friendly faces in my classes.”

What made you decide to become a teacher?

“To be honest, I never in a million years thought I would become a teacher and when I left college myself, I knew I wasn’t going to be a teacher. I wasn’t going to grad school to be a teacher, but I loved reading and writing. As my kids were born and got older, I really loved the magic of their learning that they brought home, so I went back and got my masters in education and that’s how I started teaching.”

What are the best and worst things about being a teacher?

“The best things about being a teacher are the relationships you make with the students, families, other teachers and just growing as a person. I think the worst thing about being a teacher is just the workload.”

What about WJ makes this school unique?

“I think just the fact of community. Students and teachers and family members, especially from what I saw and experienced from back to school night, really work together to support student learning, to support student achievement, so that’s what I really like.”

Why did you decide to teach English?

“English was my undergraduate degree because I love reading and writing, taking apart novels, understanding the different layers of it, the different meanings that the author has. I think that reading and writing get you in touch with who you are as a person.”

 

Anthony Salatto, Biology teacher:

Why did you choose to work at WJ?

“I came from Prince George’s County and a lot of my family members have worked in Montgomery County so I’ve known it was a good county for supporting teachers and things. I liked their ideas that they had about how students should learn, so pretty much a lot of professional reasons. It’s also very close to where I live, in DC, so that’s also another reason why I wanted to work in Montgomery County.”

What are you most excited about for this upcoming year?

“I am most excited about all of the new people, students, teachers.”

How have you been treated by the other staff members so far?

“I’ve been treated very well. They have all been very welcoming and making sure I had everything I needed and planning along with me. It has been a lot of fun and super helpful with making it an easy transition here.”

How do you like the students so far?

“I like the students a lot. I loved my students that I had back in Prince George’s County, however these students are very different. It’s nice seeing a heightened sense of kids who want to do their work, whether its extrinsic or intrinsic motivation, it’s nice to see them have a lot of motivation to get their work done and it just makes me more excited to teach them.”

What made you decide to become a teacher?

“I always liked working with people, specifically younger people. Over the summer, I am a camp director for kids ages 5-12 so I deal with kids who are very little and with adolescents. I like working with kids of all ages. I was always good at STEM classes, so I was really passionate about sticking with STEM. I wanted to to stick with biology and also have a social job, so teaching is what fell with that.”

What are the best and worst things about being a teacher?

“The best things are the relationships and successes you get to see in a person. It’s really cool connecting with 150 different students all from different corners of the world. It’s also cool getting to know all of the different teachers and getting to know all of their different backgrounds. My least favorite thing is having to wake back up at 5:30 a.m.”

 

Hannah Wang, Music teacher:

Why did you choose to work at WJ?

“It had a great program and I was really excited about the music technology that was just being introduced.”

What are you most excited about for this upcoming year?

“I’m really excited for a lot of self-growth in a way because I’m coming from six different schools, so it’s my first year at one school, which is really nice and I get to help build up the music tech curriculum which is super awesome. I’m also excited to work with different groups of students that I haven’t had the opportunity to work with before.”

How have you been treated by the other staff members so far?

“They’re super awesome! I love working with them; they are a great team. We even purchased a rug together.”

How do you like the students so far?

“I really like them so far. They are super awesome, really focused, sometimes I have to reel them in a little, but that’s fine.”

What made you decide to become a teacher?

“So many things. One of the reasons I became a teacher, a music teacher specifically, is because I love music. Music has helped me through a lot of different situations in my life and I wanted to pass around those tools to the next generation and also really give them a chance to express themselves.”

What are the best and worst things about being a teacher?

“There are so many. One of the best things is when someone gets it, when they get that ah-ha moment, it is worth all of the things that might not be the best parts. The worst part is when I don’t say something that I should’ve and I see a student shut down.”

What about WJ makes this school unique?

“I think the different things that you guys can participate in; there are so many opportunities here that not necessarily every school has.”

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WJ welcomes new teachers from various backgrounds