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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Eyes wide open: teachers care more than I ever expected

Senior+Maya+Halpern+and+social+studies+teacher+Jennifer+Bauer+switch+shoes+as+they+experience+each+others+day+in+the+life.+It+was+an+eye-opening+experience%2C+and+it+was+amazing+to+see+how+much+she+cares+for+her+students%2C+Halpern+said.
Photo by Gurnoor Sodhi
Senior Maya Halpern and social studies teacher Jennifer Bauer switch shoes as they experience each other’s ‘day in the life’. “It was an eye-opening experience, and it was amazing to see how much she cares for her students,” Halpern said.

From the second she walks into the building in the morning, AP Psychology and Honors Modern World History teacher Jennifer Bauer is on. Gliding through the hallways, she rushes to get to her class to get her morning started, before the days of students even begin.

On Feb. 22, I had the opportunity to shadow Bauer for the day, and I now see school and teaching in a completely different light.

As soon as she sits down in the morning, she begins her list of a million things to do, moving swiftly through her routine. I was in awe of how she was able to check all of her emails at once while simultaneously opening her notes for her first-period class, talking to students who came in with questions after absences, and seeing that she had students with schedule changes. My mind was spinning trying to figure out how she could do all of these things while I was just trying to get my notes set up. It is her daily routine, and she executes it flawlessly.

As the bell rang for the start of the first period, it felt like we were already halfway through the day with the amount of work she had already done. When she started introducing the day’s reminders, students kept stumbling in late, and Bauer didn’t even bat an eye. Bauer said, “I get it. Sometimes I get stuck in traffic on Wootton Parkway and I understand that if I had freshmen they’d all be here on time, but sometimes life just gets in the way.”

The period moseys on, with Bauer using the first period as a time to get her notes for the day mentally organized. She began memorizing the period’s order of events as she was teaching, telling stories to connect the concepts to daily practices, and using images and books to keep students enthralled. I had so many questions about what her mind went through while teaching, and her patience with not just me but everyone else was impressive. Bauer explained how she uses her learning disabilities as a plus to increase her empathy for students and take her time going through lessons. The only other psych teacher being Amy Buckingham allows the two to adjust to any time disturbances with ease, giving them significantly more freedom than in classes with stricter schedules.

Throughout the day, I was able to memorize what she was teaching, and by the end of the day not only were the lessons taking less and less time, but I was able to teach her eighth-period AP Psych class myself. Having four periods of one class doesn’t feel overly repetitive and allows time to perfect the lesson. I found it enjoyable by the end of the day to know exactly what came next.

Bauer has no third or fourth-period class, allowing her time to plan essentially from 9:15 until the end of lunch. She had to think so far ahead to send out for copies, but the process was fairly easy. It was interesting how we were in one unit in class, while mentally she was preparing a month in advance for the next one. She caught up on any emails she missed and even began to learn what her daughter was doing in school so she could help if needed. She flawlessly prioritized her to-do lists for the next week and kept her things organized when moving out of her classroom.

Her compassion shone throughout the day. She had patience with anyone who was out, kept track of things for everyone who needed her and didn’t judge someone who needed to take extra time. While it is commonly known that Bauer is one of the nicest teachers in the school, that isn’t always known for her husband, Kraig Bauer, who I had the pleasure of eating lunch with. I had him in a class last year and found him to be a fantastic teacher. He was inquisitive during lunch, and he loved telling stories as well. For someone who is known to be strict, he has such a soft spot for his wife, and it was clear how they relied on one another to be their support system in a charming manner.

While I now can see how teaching isn’t for me, and the amount of emails teachers get is endless, the day was one of the most enjoyable of my high school experience because of Bauer. I am appreciative of her generosity in doing this schedule swap with me, and I highly recommend everyone takes a second every day to appreciate the staff around them. You can find her side of the experience HERE.

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About the Contributor
Maya Halpern, staff writer
Senior Maya Halpern is the back page editor in her third year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys dancing as well as hanging out with friends and family. You can also find her on IG @mayahalpernn
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