English Department Seeks to Fill Mid-Semester Vacancy
Beginning in late October, former World Literature teacher Jennie Green stopped coming to school.
It was later revealed that Green decided to retire, leaving administration in the tricky position of having to fill her spot mid-semester and leaving five English classes with no teacher.
“We hope to have a replacement at the beginning of second semester at the latest,” said English Department Chair Amy Branca.
Although the timing was a little abrupt, students were not caught totally off guard by Green’s decision.
“She really just wasn’t able to teach in the physical learning environment,” said sophomore Sarah Mackey. “She kept missing so many days.”
Green’s departure still had a notable impact on students in her former classes.
“It’s just been really hectic,” said sophomore Erica Izaguirre. “No one has told us anything about Ms. Green’s situation. We’ve speculated a lot about it. It’s just very disconnected.”
Most of the disorder came in the first days Green did not return.
“Immediately after she left there was a lot of confusion,” said sophomore Chris Lin. “We weren’t really given any work, and the work given was all over the place. We had work on the second scene of Julius Caesar before the first scene. There was a period where we didn’t even have a teacher.”
There was often uncertainty about assignments, as the substitute teachers varied day to day for the first week.
“We kind of had assignments, but some of the subs were just like, ‘don’t do it,’ because they didn’t want to deal with that, I guess,” said Mackey. “And some days we didn’t even have anything to do, so the sub would make something up on the fly or give us a free period.”
As the situation became clearer, a more solid plan for the class emerged. Branca and fellow English teacher Zachary Welser, both of whom have taught World Literature in the past, are providing lesson plans and grading work for Green’s former classes. In addition, the supervision has been much more consistent: only two different substitutes since the beginning of November.
Green’s former classes took a test and have received grades on some assignments since her retirement, but that is secondary to ensuring that her classes are receiving some form of instruction.
“Our biggest priority was making sure y’all have the foundation in mythology that y’all are going to need going forward to understand the references that will be made in both American Lit and British Lit,” said Welser.
Green’s former classes will cover literature including Greek and Roman mythology, Shakespeare’s Othello, and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
“You’re doing the exact same stuff I had my magnet World Lit class do last year,” said Welser. “Really, y’all got luckier. Mine had to do it at home, and then come in the next day and talk about it. They actually did not get class time to read it, they just had to read the same stuff.”
Sophomore Cecilia Conway noted the change in instruction style.
“Before we didn’t have a lot of consistent work, we had a few projects and that was basically it,” she said. “Now we have daily assignments, and with the other teachers giving us a lesson schedule so we know what we are learning and what we’re being tested on makes it easier to focus.”
The key difference is that Green’s former classes do not have a teacher to lead discussions in class to check for understanding and develop on the given text.
“If you ever have any questions about it [the reading], just come see me before or after school,” said Welser. “I’d be happy to clarify.”
Green declined our request to comment.