When Life Hands You Apples, Give Them to Your Teachers

When Life Hands You Apples, Give Them to Your Teachers

If you look into any elective classroom, you will be met by the sight of the class filled to the brim, not a single empty seat or desk in the room, and sooner or later classes will have to start putting kids up in the ceiling tiles.  With such an abundance of students and a lack of teachers, some veteran teachers have been asked to step up to the plate into uncharted territory.    

The poster child for this excess of workload is the one and literally only German instructor: Frau Karns.  

This language legend has seven teaching periods a day, leaving her one period to do her work like grading, which she needs to set aside much more time to do now more than any year in the past. 

To her advantage, (or disadvantage), Karns is no stranger to this situation having been in virtually the same boat just a year ago.  No matter how much experience with this situation one has, there is no doubt that this kind of drastic schedule change would take a toll on someone, but Karns has found her own therapeutic coping method.

“At lunch, I turn off the lights and just sit in the dark and silence,” Karns said.  

A bit of a solemn image, but then again, so is the image of having freshmen and 8th graders in your class at eight in the morning.

On top of seeing an increase in students in each of her normal classes, Karns has also had to take up the responsibility of teaching German 1 again (enter the 8th graders), a class that the previous German teacher used to have.  However, this German G.O.A.T. is taking it like a champ.

“It’s fine, I taught it for many years a while ago,” said Karns.  

Still, after spending sixteen years at Knoch, having to go back to teaching a class you haven’t had to for a long period of time is a bit of backwards progress. 

Karns isn’t the only veteran who has been dealt a bad hand.  AP European History teacher Mr. Pflugh has taught here for twenty-five years, which also happens to be the number of kids in his largest class of the day, Civil War. 

“I have kids in class taking notes by chess pieces.”

— Mr. Pflugh

A big problem Pflugh has run into is how to incorporate class participation with these exaggerated class sizes.  

“With 15-17 kids, it’s easier to discuss,” said Pflugh, “but with 20, it’s a catastrophe.”

Along with teaching AP Euro and Civil War, Pflugh has picked up the Evolution of Gaming class as well as doing online AP Psychology and Sociology on the side.  This means that when he isn’t occupied with one of his five in person classes, he is focused on fixing the grades and overseeing his Edgenuity classes.  

The next educator in the spotlight is one who is no stranger to online classes.  In fact, they have taught a whole plethora of classes, ranging from Yearbook to Debate and Discussion to Mythology.  

Ms. Thompson has had the unfortunate experience of being handed a class to teach mere days before the start of the actual class: 12th grade English. Despite having such a wide range of classes under her belt, which include the 10th and 11th grade English counterparts to her new class, Ms. Thompson has never had the experience of teaching it at this level. 

“Anytime a teacher picks up a new class, it always adds stress and a fairly significant amount of work,” said Ms. Thompson.  “Even with resources from other teachers, most of us have their own style and approach to their curriculum.”

The only thing currently saving Ms. Thompson from having a full day is her position of being the gifted program’s coordinator.

“The state mandates gifted coordinators have one period per day for every ten gifted students they have, which gives me three,” said Ms. Thompson.

There’s no doubt that teachers have felt the effects of the increased classes, but what about the students?  

Senior Sarah Mitchell, who has had Frau Karns as an educator for two years now, has gone from being in a class of about twelve people to being in a room with twenty some other students.  

“It’s fine,” said Mitchell, “but I do prefer smaller language classes.”

Mitchell mentioned a flaw she felt with having a larger class.  In her opinion, “with the bigger classes, quieter kids can get kind of drowned out, which is not the best for a language class.”

It’s tough for a lot of these students to see some of their favorite teachers have to be loaded down with all of these classes that they weren’t prepared for.  As a fellow student of all three of these individuals mentioned in this article, I can attest that all the extra work that has been put on them hasn’t taken away at all from the care and effort that they put into their teaching and classes.  

The ability of these teachers to keep that same caliber of instructions is truly a testament to just how great they are and how lucky we are to have them here at Knoch.  Hopefully, soon, all these beloved educators will be cut some slack, if for no other reason than to get the German end-of-the-year Mario Kart tournament back.

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About the Contributor
Lara Ejzak
Lara Ejzak, Editor-in-Chief
Oh hey! My name is Lara Ejzak, and I am a super (cool) senior here at Knoch. I am involved in tennis, German club, history club, and Youth and Government.  I am still making atrocious puns and baked goods that just don't quit! I write articles about school and whatnot, but my specialty is any article that allows me to spew my opinion everywhere because I am always right.  I'm a sucker for a good mango or raspberry, and I am still out on a hunt to find the best apples, so hit me up if you know of any.

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