The highs and lows of teaching seniors

The plight of teaching seniors those rare Heritage students who sometimes give up and stop caring about maintaining competitive grades and high SAT scores is not often envied. However, the teachers who commit to this daunting task are people, too, and they may share a hatred of Mondays or elation at the end of the school year with the senior class. Here are some of the best and worst days of every school year for a few senior teachers.

Best Days

“I really like the day… before the holiday break. Everybody is in a good mood, and you get presents so that would be my favorite.”   – English teacher Ms. Melissa Santiago

“My favorite day of the year is when you guys come in for AP review and my honors come in and you get to eat the pizza. [Environment students plant a garden at the beginning of the year and use the herbs and vegetables they grow as pizza toppings]. ”   – AP Environmental teacher Osmel Rodriguez.

“AP exam day would be my favorite. I stay there after school, and when you walk out I see your expressions and people are always so appreciative. It’s my favorite day. People come out of there, and they’re not traumatized. They’re like ‘Oh wow, that was actually really easy.’ Kids come out every year doing a lot better than they think.”  – AP Statistics teacher Mr. Isaac Sofy

“Not for the reasons you think, but the senior carnival. With prom you share that with underclassmen. Gradbash you share with other schools. The senior carnival is just your day. It’s just you. Some of you have been here longer than four years and so to have a day that celebrates you and your time with us at this school, that’s the reason why. To see everybody enjoying themselves – that’s my favorite day.”  Economics teacher Mr. Harry Torres

 

Worst Days

“Ironically, I would say the same day [senior carnival]. There are teachers that will say, ‘I don’t know how you do it – I can’t teach seniors. I’d be miserable,’ but I love seniors. That’s why I’m a senior teacher. I wouldn’t want to teach any other grade. I wouldn’t even want juniors. I love seniors, and when you guys leave, I feel sad. I feel like a stranger in my own school. I walk around, and I don’t know anybody. Everyone’s an underclassman.”  Economics teacher Mr. Harry Torres

“I’m going to say it’s the the first day. Not because I don’t love coming to work, but because I don’t sleep. I get so nervous, and I have the same nightmare every day before the first day of school. It’s that class has started and I realize that I didn’t print my syllabus to give to everyone. Nowadays you would just throw it up on the portal, but every summer right before the start of the school year I have that nightmare that I’m not prepared. Kids are coming in, and I go to grab [the syllabus] and I realize that I didn’t print copies. I have nothing to hand them and that’s all you do the first day.

“It’s really just a reflection of anxiety. I’m so nervous about ‘Are the kids going to like me? Am I going to have good kids? Am I going to have crazy kids?’ It’s my own anxiety and fear that makes it difficult.” – AP English Literature teacher Ms. Melissa Santiago

“It has to be the Friday before the PSAT. That day, no one is here. Those who are here are stressed beyond belief. The seniors that are here are kind of checked out because they’re like ‘Don’t care, done that. Been there. That’s your problem, not mine.’ The non-merit kids are equally as stressed. The energy that day is kind of weird. Everyone is either stressed or they don’t care.”   – AP Environmental teacher Osmel Rodriguez.

“The last day of school for seniors – senior carnival. Because although it’s fun to watch you guys, it’s also sad to see you leave. I won’t see you after that.” – AP Statistics teacher Mr. Isaac Sofy

 

Clearly, as difficult as motivating and taming the senior class might be, our teachers seem to think it’s worth it. Seniors, remember the next time you are having a bad day that your teachers have them, too, but at the end of the day they take pride in knowing and educating you. In the words of Mr. Torres, “There’s a silence when everyone is gone. It’s a sad silence.”

American Heritage Alumni
This article was written by an alumna of American Heritage School.

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