Teachers reflect on the first day of school


Chemistry teacher Katie Pidsosny talks to a student. Pidsosny. The 2019-2020 school year will be Pidsosny's second year at Northwest.

While students relax at the beach or stay home playing video games in the last weeks of summer before school starts, teachers spend hours preparing worksheets, test materials, classroom activities, and more as the first day approaches.

For civics and economics teacher Damian Jackson, the first day brings a lot of excitement and exhaustion.

“(It was) exhausting. I was tired by the end of the day,” Jackson said.

As a new teacher at Northwest, Jackson had a lot to prepare for his first day, including how to interact with Northwest students.

“I talked to most of the staff in my department and the administration (staff),” Jackson said.  “The staff gave me ideas of things to be aware of far more than any of my other schools (I taught at).”

As a result, Jackson felt more relaxed on his first day at Northwest because the staff prepared him for what he would encounter.

Chemistry teacher Katie Pidsosny is a second-year teacher at Northwest.  Unlike Jackson, Pidsosny did not have as much to prepare for the new school year.

“I came in (school) feeling a little tired, and it was really chill.  This is the most chill school I’ve ever worked at. It’s because of the atmosphere here,” Pidsosny said.

For Pidsosny, it is the overall atmosphere of Northwest that encourages her to come to school each day; and the first day of school was no different.

“I like how people are really excited to learn,” Pidsosny said. “I like the general atmosphere and how there’s a competitive spirit.  The faculty works together.”

Veteran AP Psychology teacher Phil Coley has taught at Northwest for 25 years.  For him, the first day of school was not necessarily about getting to know the students in-depth.

“There isn’t a lot of quality interaction with your students, which will, of course, come later,” Coley said.  “(The first day was) perfunctory. You’re just trying to get through with all the paperwork. (The first day) is really just about information collection and information distribution.”

Coley expressed that he hopes to see his students grow and mature throughout the year as he gets to know them better.

“I see a maturation (in students throughout the school year).  The maturation truly occurs when they’re not afraid to allow that to happen and when they trust me and others as teachers and understand what the teacher’s trying to do,” Coley said.

So, now that the third week of school has come to an end, students and teachers continue to work together to learn and grow throughout the year.  The first day of school helps to remind teachers of why they started teaching.

For me, the best part of teaching is getting to learn about my students, while also trying to help them to reach certain course goals. In my philosophy, it is important to establish good relationships with the students and help them to grow as both students and people,” Coley said.