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September 25, 2013

A Returning Teacher Shares his Experiences at Centennial

by Jiłah Maldonado

The first weeks of school can be stressful for anyone. There are new classes, new students, and a new level of responsibility that one must learn to carry. Yet, what people often forget is how teachers feel in similar, stressful situations. The Centinal has brought this article to light because life as a teacher can be quite hectic. The following questions have been directed towards Jim Linnenburger, an AP Calculus and Algebra 2 teacher here at Centennial. He has taught at Centennial before but then worked at the Melon Building before returning back this year.

How do you feel returning as a teacher at Centennial?

I was really excited to come back to teaching. It was a decision that my wife and I had been talking about for several years, so I was really happy that the opportunity was there.” Linnenburger continued, saying that he was very fortunate that there were open slots for classes that he wanted to teach. He then proceeded to say that, “Through the years where I did not teach, I missed the interaction with the students in the classroom.”

Is it stressful? If so, why?

“Yes, it is. In a desk job, you still have deadlines, but nothing is truly pressing.” He then further explained that teaching is much different due to the the physical and mental adjustment that is needed.

What lessons do you want to take from this year to improve the next?

“This year is almost like first year teaching again because there are so many different things like Standard Based Grading and Edline.” Before this year, Linnenburger had never worked with these new systems, so he still has plenty to learn.

Are there aspects of being a teacher that you would improve?

“From my experience teaching 7 years ago compared to my experience so far this year, a lot of things have changed.” He says that the various committees, late starts, and initiatives are all a plus, but there are too many things to focus on and prioritizing can be an issue.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

“No teacher is perfect. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have. There is always room for improvement, and you can’t beat yourself up…”

What obstacles have you needed to overcome during your teaching career?

“Time management. There is so much you have to do… You want to be helping kids, but grades are due at 4 o’clock… It is really just a matter of priorizing and getting a balance of time…”

Looking through the eyes of a teacher displays a perspective that is quite different than what students tend to assume. The best advice is to study hard, pay attention in class, and give all of those hard-working teachers a break.

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