Where are all the teachers?

Teachers leaving and its effects


Zoe Ziessman

Science teacher Al Wachutka teaches an AP environmental classto freshman Jan 9. Wachutka took over a class as a result of a teacher leaving.

Abby Meisler

Park has been struggling with multiple teachers leaving throughout the school year. As a result, some teachers have been making adjustments to their schedules to fill in for students. 

Science teacher Al Wachutka has taken over an AP Environmental Science class. Freshman Makenna Allison, whose class was taken over by Wachutka, has been directly affected by the change. 

“Wachutka took over the class and it’s been difficult. It’s just really hard and we don’t really know him. It’s just really confusing,” Allison said.

This has also been a problem for the other departments at school. English teacher, Abdul Wright, has been hired to teach an Honors English 10 class. Wright started the last week of December directly before winter break. Thus far, he said he had a positive experience working in a high school.

“I’ve really appreciated just being able to do my own thing. This is my first time in high school so it’s just a lot more chill,” Wright said.

Freshman Dahlia Cohen, who has been affected by a teacher change in her APES class,  said she has been having trouble adjusting to the new pacing of the lessons.. She said that this predicament has had effects on her experience in the class.

“What I’ve noticed so far is that Mr. Wachutka paces his classes differently,” Cohen said. “It’s affecting how much I’ve been taking notes during class.” 

According to science teacher Julie Schilz, who has taken over a second year IB class, said there has been difficulty with adjusting to a smaller science department.

“There was a lot of shuffling that needed to happen with classes. People taking on extra things but that’s obviously a big deal in itself,” Schilz said.

Wright said he has been aware of the teacher absences and has observed how it has affected the students.

“It creates inconsistency and expectations having to adjust from one teacher to the next,” Wright said. “Not having clarity on what’s to come, not being able to develop a sense of trust and it just creates this regulation.” 

Assistant principal Alyssa Gardner said she plans to assist students through the transition to arrange consistency between new teachers.

“Our first priority is making sure that we have not just a sub who’s willing to step into the space in the absence of a teacher, but also we work with that department to still develop high quality lesson plans and to ensure that there’s still content and rigor and it’s not just a free period,” Gardner said.

Although there have been logistical changes between teacher’s schedules, having a co-worker leave has been tough as well, according to Wachutka. Since he has had to pick up a class, he now has a busier schedule.

“We have a lot of extra work because (a colleague) bailed out on us. There are several of us that had to pick up more classes in our schedule which is actually a better situation than trying to find somebody to cover his schedule,” Wachutka said.

Wright has also been implementing his own strategies to give additional support to the students that are adjusting to new teachers.

“I’m working on things with them in regards to supporting them more in class, making sure they understand what I’m looking for from them. In regards to the work they submit, giving them descriptive feedback on assignments, getting rid of all of the old grades that were failing them from before I got here, because I don’t think that that’s right,” Wright said. “Still holding them to a really high expectation, but supporting them.”