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Beyond the Cave

Veteran Teachers: New Subjects

The 2023-2024 school year brought many changes, including teachers teaching new subjects
Mr. Suggs
Seniors listen to a lecture in Mr. Ruckman’s Economics and Government class, a new class taught by Mr. Ruckman.

Teaching at a small school often requires teachers to teach new subjects. In this 2023-2024 school year, there are seven veteran teachers taking on new subjects. 

In Ms. Bennett’s interview she shared that the age difference is a big change from what she has been doing for many years. She is now teaching 7th/8th grade History. 

“It’s different in the sense that I have not taught junior high students and I’m just not used to the maturity level and how slow the work process is for them, because they need a lot more time than high school kids,” stated Ms. Bennett. 

Adding onto the current three Biomedical classes, Ms. Alomia, took on the fourth level of this curriculum, Biomedical Innovations. In her interview she recalled that she had earlier taught the Biomedical Pathways. 

“When I was hired here five years ago I talked them into letting me teach these Biomedical Pathways. I taught in a medical Academy down in San Diego. I loved the curriculum, it was really good, and I saw it really benefited the students,” commented Ms. Alomia. 

“When I was hired here five years ago I talked them into letting me teach these Biomedical Pathways. I taught in a medical Academy down in San Diego. I loved the curriculum, it was really good, and I saw it really benefited the students,” commented Ms. Alomia. 

— Ms. Alomia

For Summerville High students,  students are required to take six semesters of mathematics course offerings and optional to take more years of math. 

Summerville High’s math teacher, Ms. Gissler, has offered to teach her now third math class, AP Statistics. 

It’s definitely a new challenge for me, which…some of it I enjoy. The excess lesson planning and having to figure out what I want to teach the next day is more stressful. AP statistics is a new adventure every day, and I’m not ready for all the ups and downs but I’m making it work,” Ms. Gissler shared. 

Ms. Gissler claimed that due to the overwhelming amount of lesson planning and having the responsibility of preparing students for the advanced placement test, there is added stress in the class. 

“It’s also my very first AP test that I’ve taught, so the added stress that we have to get through everything so you are ready to take a test.”

Summerville High recently added photography to the school electives. Mr. Hall is taking on the class teaching students the art of taking, practicing and processing photographs.  

In his interview he was asked if there was anything he would like to do differently. He states that he is having some technical struggles.

“The freshmen don’t know how to use computers. They don’t know how to double click, they don’t know how to create folders, they don’t know what files are. I would focus more on how to use a computer in the beginning,” said Mr. Hall. 

On the other note, Mr Smale, now teaching Robotics, is not having as many computer issues, and has a very high outlook on this elective.

“It’s one of the greatest topics, you learn a tremendous amount about computers, electricity, 3D printers and lots of other things.”

Mr. Bainbridge is now taking on two new subjects, Photography 3 and Studio Broadcasting. 

“My favorite part about ‘Cast’ [Studio Broadcast] is seeing what students develop and produce with their segments and kind of getting an immediate reaction from a larger audience.”

In addition to Mr. Bainbridge discovering Studio Broadcast, Beyond the Cave, asked him what his favorite part about Photography 3 is so far.

“As the third year of photography at this point they know all the basics. They now can kind of work on finding style and refining that, so there’s a lot more freedom in it and I enjoy again seeing what they come up with and how they mature.”

Each year, seniors graduate and are ready to move on with the next step in their lives. 

Mr. Atkins is now leading Senior Seminar and preparing seniors for life after high school. 

“The big central piece is the students completing their senior project, which is the culminating project of their high school career. They are either doing a job shadow, internship, or creating some sort of project or a fundraiser to get back to the community. Then around that is life skills like personal finance, cooking, college readiness, and career readiness,” Mr. Atkins explained. 

From teaching core classes to fun electives, each and every one of these teachers are taking a big step teaching new subjects this year and hopefully for the following years. 


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Darla Vogt
Darla Vogt, Reporter
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