The Liberator

New year, new teachers

Hanif Amanullah, Staff Writer

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LASA gained 17 new staff this year, and that means there are 17 new first impressions on school life. Clubs, student organizations, and school traditions are only a few of the ways new teachers at LASA can get involved.

Jessica Vanover, the new AP US History teacher, said she was nervous when she found out she was going to be teaching at LASA.

“I know students here want a really good education and they’re competitive, and I wanted to make sure they were getting what they needed out of me… that they were successful,” Vanover said.

These sentiments were echoed by teacher Nathan Wong, the new Algebra II and Physics Right teacher.

Algebra II and Physics Right teacher Nathan Wong joined LASA this year. photo by Hanif Amanullah.

“I was told a lot about how rigorous LASA is academically, how LASA students are sort of the ‘gods that walk among us,’” Wong said. “I was intimidated, because I’d never taught students like that, so I didn’t know how I was gonna engage them.”

New Great Ideas teacher Sade Vallier said she previously taught history classes was interested in the prospect of a class based in conversation.

“I expected to have kids that were interested in the material were covering,” Vallier said. “For the class to be so discussion-based and then have kids really participate in class, is just awesome.”

AP U.S. History teacher Jessica Vanover joined LASA this year. photo by Hanif Amanullah.

Despite apprehensive expectations, Wong said he had positive first impressions.

“My first impressions are that, well, people are people,” Wong said. “And that includes LASA students. I like that LASA is not as inaccessible as I thought it was going to be, and the LASA student body isn’t as inaccessible as I thought it was going to be.”

Like Wong, Vanover had an enthusiastic response to students at LASA.

“LASA kids are just like any other kids,” Vanover said. “Some kids here have higher standards. That’s the only difference. It’s not like I was expecting everyone to be really rude, but I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and accommodating students have been.”

Vanover, who first had a class in the portables, said she was surprised when multiple students helped out by taking her moving desk stand down from the purple hallway.

“I have a kid that walks in everyday and asks to fill up my water bottle,” Vanover said. “I’m just like ‘cool!’.”

“They’re super quirky. All kinds of interests, random pieces of knowledge,” Vallier said.

She and Vanover expressed interest in all the different clubs the school offers.

“[These clubs] make education easier,” Vanover said. “I feel like I can do more with LASA students because they want to be there.”

On the other hand, Wong said that moving schools always has its downsides.

“Coming from a private school environment, there’s a lot of extra stuff you have to do in the public school system,” Wong said. “So it’s interesting navigating all of that.”

And for floating teachers like Vanover, who don’t have their own assigned classrooms, moving from room to room can be hard.

“I hate people in small places, so walking in the hallways have been pretty hard for me,” Vanover said. “I’m a floating teacher so I have to move. Sometimes the traffic jams are a bit too much for me, but I’m learning how to navigate that.”

Vallier expressed that LASA is the sort of the place that she would have hope existed as a kid.”

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New year, new teachers