New staff members join Walnut High School
Seven new teachers spoke about their first two weeks of teaching at Walnut. Each of them discussed their goals and expectations for the 2016-2017 school year.
American Sign Language (ASL) teacher DuWyce Wilson taught at West Covina High School as a teacher assistant. He also taught ASL levels 1-3 at Azusa High School as a full-time teacher prior to transferring to Walnut.
“The environment here is very welcoming and very friendly. My goal is just for my students to be able to communicate with the deaf culture and the deaf community. It’s not too challenging because everybody’s picking up on it very well and very fast. Everyone’s respectful and willing to learn. I want the students to start stepping out of their shell a little bit more and step out their comfort zone. It’s okay to act silly when you’re signing to show your facial expressions, to show that you’re happy, sad, or mad. Not a lot of people know about learning deaf culture, so I would love to spread all the knowledge to my students.”
German teacher Leah Turner taught at California State University of Long Beach for three semesters and was a student teacher at Pacifica High School before becoming a full-time teacher at Walnut.
“I hope I can grow the German program. I [started] doing something called Bundesliga, and it just means ‘German soccer league.’ Students are going to follow the team they signed up to follow, and they are going to become fans of the team and present about it. I’m hoping to get people excited about the same things that Germans are excited about. It’s really big in their culture to follow their teams from their cities. It’s not total immersion like living somewhere, but at least here, I can immerse my students for at least one hour a day. I hope my students will not only takeaway from this the knowledge of the language, but it will make them become world citizens, to think about things differently from a different perspective, not only from the German culture but from someone else’s point of view. I hope that they can see that learning the language isn’t as scary as it seems, it’s not just about conjugating verbs, it can be fun.”
French teacher Suzanne Tenbroek has pursued a teaching career since 2001. She originally taught French, then took a two year hiatus before returning to teach.
“I’m excited. It’s always fun to start something new. I know I’m coming into a really great, established French program, so I’m looking forward to working with students here. I also know that students here tend to be extraordinarily motivated, so that’s exciting as a teacher, to have students that really want to be here. A new environment, in my opinion, is always good, and I’m also a teacher, I like to change things up a little bit as well. It was a big change for me, but I think it’s good. Thus far, I’m just enjoying it a lot. It’s a lot of fun.”
Mathematics teacher Amanda Lindemann has been a regular substitute teacher at Whittier and California High School and Eastwood Middle School for subjects including math, science and dance. This is her first year as a full-time high school teacher.
“I’m excited to get to know all the students more because all the students have been really great so far. I want my students to know that I’m always willing to go above and beyond for someone who goes above and beyond. If they come in for extra help or after school, I’m ready to stay after school and help as well. If they’re willing to dedicate the time, I’ll put in extra time. I hope to show my students that math is a beautiful language because I really love math. I want to show my students that everyone can love math, even though it’s hard.”
Starting this year, Nathan Newman will be working as class of 2018’s Grade Level Coordinator (GLC). He previously worked as a GLC for middle schoolers.
“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to the new opportunity. I’m excited for the new opportunity of getting to know the kids. My goal is to get to know the kids as well as I possibly can and to support their needs in the best way I possibly can. I don’t have anything set in stone right now for what I’m going to do personally, but the first year from my philosophy is taking in information and being able to address it in the future. I’m excited for the new students, being a part of the Walnut team, and being a part of this community.”
Before coming to Walnut High School, Special Education teacher Joseph Ausdemore was a teacher at San Bernardino Pacific High School.
“It’s different from my past environment, so it takes a little bit of getting used to. I think as far as students, it’s absolutely wonderful having higher-caliber students. I’ve never seen students so motivated to succeed, and I’m not just talking about general students, I’m talking about Special Ed. I think there’s a high rate of success here that I haven’t seen in the past, and the Special Ed teachers are just absolutely fantastic. I think my goal is just learning from the great Special Ed teachers here and becoming great myself. I think being a great teacher takes a lot of time. You just want to do the right thing all the time, but you learn by making mistakes. I don’t know how big my mistakes will be, but I’m just learning to learn from them.“
Special Education teacher Kristy Kirkpatrick worked with elementary school students prior to transferring to Walnut.
“The kids are much mellower in high school and they sit down better in Special Ed. Their parents are very involved still, which is nice to see. I want my students to meet their IEP (Individual Education Plan). I’m also getting a handle on the different schedules on Monday, Wednesday, Friday vs.Tuesday and Thursday. Since it’s a new classroom and it’s mainly freshmen, it’s all new to both them and me.”
By Melissa Kim and Jessica Huang, News editors
Photos by Airi Gonzales, Elaine Liu and Justin Jiang