The PCS Roar

New Teachers

Eric Spencer and Natalie Walker

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Mr. Pandey is a  PCS alumnus and currently teaches AP English Language And Composition. He can be found in Room 127, dropping sick beats.

 

What attracted you to the job here at PCS?

I knew I wanted to teach high school and was looking at options in terms of where I wanted to be living. Since I grew up here, there was an obvious attraction to coming back to a place that I love. I was also familiar with the school culture at PCS and I knew that it would be intellectually stimulating, students would be engaged in whatever I was bringing up, and there would be freedom to create my curriculum.

 

What has surprised you most in your first month about the students or about teaching here?

I have been pleasantly surprised by students’ engagement, how friendly they are, and their interactions outside of school. I have seen students downtown and it feels very collegial and comfortable to interact with the students. I think that when I was a student, we did interact with teachers, but it wasn’t a lot outside of school.

 

What are the most noticeable changes to PCS since you were a student here?

The obvious one is the campus. It offers a completely different experience with a lot less outdoor space, but at the same time a much cleaner interior. I really like the location of my classroom, tucked in the corner underneath the stairs, which gives students who want more privacy and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the school that opportunity.

 

What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?

I am pretty active, I like to play basketball and go on hikes and am really into music. I enjoy listening to music and even do a little bit of rapping on my own. I am a big fan of the HBO roster of TV shows. I spend a lot of time with my family, my dad, and brother who lives up in San Francisco.

 

What would you like your students to know about you, or your approach to teaching, or your background?

I consider myself to be a very open person. I am willing to talk about a range of topics and I want students to feel comfortable approaching me and not feel a division between adult and teenager, or teacher and student to the extent where they are hesitant or don’t feel like there is a place for themselves to be who they are.

 

What advice would you give to current students based on your experience?

Don’t let the stress get to you. Savor the opportunities to build relationships with your peers. Don’t take for granted the connections you have with the people around you. There is something really valuable about a small-school high school experience and it’s worthwhile to spend time doing things that you want to do outside of school or socially. Have fun with school and don’t be overburdened by it, and if you are feeling overburdened, communicate with the adults in your life because we are here for support.

 

Christina Marentette joined PCS as a conceptual physics and Algebra 2 teacher this fall. She moved here from a teaching job at Rose High School in Michigan. Although the school is much smaller than her old school she has not observed many major differences between PCS and her previous teaching job.

 

What attracted you to the job here at PCS?

Well I moved here from Michigan so I was looking for a job in the area. This school is small and has high expectations of their students.

 

What has surprised you most in your first month about the students or about teaching here?

Nothing has really surprised me much. The small size of the school was a little surprising but it can be seen as a negative and positive thing.

 

What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?

I really enjoy reading and doing research. I also love long walks.

 

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I have always enjoyed teaching and I wanted to be able to help kids better understand the world around them which I believe you can do through physics.

 

What would you like your students to know about you, or your approach to teaching, or your background?

I have high expectations for student engagement in class. My students can expect me to be respectful and humorous.

 

What advice would you give to current students based on your experience?

Don’t close doors. Classes you may believe will not be useful later in life may come up again in your future. The American educational system allows your options later in life to be open as long as you don’t close doors.

 

Nicole Anderson is the new PCS dance instructor, specifically for dance fusion. She began as a parent volunteer but now has transitioned into a full teacher. She has previously taught at two different Waldorf Schools.

 

What attracted you to the job here at PCS?

I’ve been involved with dance fusion as a parent volunteer for many years. I like the program and want to help the program progress and continue.

 

What has surprised you most in your first month about the students or about teaching here?

It has been surprising to see how kind people are to the teachers at this school. The random acts of kindness team has been doing such nice things like washing the teachers car. They have been leaving teacher appreciation notes and that has been a surprise to see how great it makes working here.

 

What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?

I obviously really enjoy dancing. I have been dancing for a very long time. I also raise bees in my free time. I am a novelist as well, so I enjoy writing stories.

 

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I have been dancing for a very long time, I started when I was 5. I began teaching dance to kids about 10 years ago. It’s my favorite thing to do.

 

What would you like your students to know about you, or your approach to teaching, or your background?

I want them to know that I really like working with them and I enjoy the time we spend together.

 

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