English department welcomes former middle school teacher


Helping juniors Emily Silvestri and Nah Lee, English teacher Susan Wechtler aids students with classwork. Before she moved to the high school, Wechtler previously taught eighth graders and worked at the middle school.

by Christine Nappi, Copy Editor

The former middle school teacher of the year has moved from teaching eighth grade to teaching in the high school.

Susan Wechtler wasn’t always educating the minds of others. When her previous event planning job wasn’t the fulfilling career she wanted, she was inspired to go back to school and earn a master’s degree for something that always lingered in the back of her mind: teaching.

Wechtler landed her first job working as an eighth grade English teacher in the middle school, yet this school year she has moved to the high school to teach ninth and 11th grade English.

“I loved teaching at the middle school,” Wechtler said. “I just knew for me high school was always on the horizon, and I was just extremely lucky that I was able to come to the high school.”

With the jump from the middle school to the high school, Wechtler said she’s still adapting. Following the drop schedule and working with more difficult content are aspects that differ from teaching in the middle school. The standards are the same in the different grades, but the skill level increases as one moves up. Her overall teaching style has not changed, but she is learning to teach the high school curriculum to students at a higher level.

“We emphasize the same skills that the middle school emphasizes,” head of the English department Patricia Mahoney said. “As you’re going through high school, the English curriculum is geared more towards preparing students for the reading and writing that’s going to be required in college.”

The courses Wechtler teaches are Adapted Curriculum and Regular English for ninth grade, as well as Honors English for 11th grade. According to Mahoney, a new teacher might start out teaching grades nine and 10, but with the resignation of former English teacher Laura Allen, Wechtler inherited her class schedule. Mahoney was aware of Wechtler’s previous position in the middle school and knew she’d be able to pick up the classes.

Over the past few years, the English department has gained a variety of new teachers, and Mahoney feels everybody “brings something new to the table.” She feels that Wechtler fits right in and is happy to have her enthusiasm and knowledge.

“It can be hard to make a transition from one school to another,” Mahoney said, “but this is a welcoming place. I think the kids make you feel welcome, and the English Department certainly makes people feel welcome.”

Moving from the middle school to the high school has given Wechtler the chance to teach some of her former students again, and she is looking forward spending more time with them. She hopes to inspire, leave a positive impact, and watch her students grow.

“People told me it would be rewarding to see ‘familiar faces and students grow,’” Wechtler said. “They say those tend to be some of the greatest years.”

Students are also looking forward to spending more time with Wechtler. Junior Gabe Weinstock, who had Ms. Wechtler in eighth grade, was pleased to find out she’d be his English teacher this year.

“I was excited to see her again because she is one of my favorite English teachers I’ve ever had,” Weinstock said.

When Wechtler first started teaching, she says she was nervous in the beginning, but as the years went on, she discovered her identity as a teacher and began to reveal more of her personality in the classroom. Upon moving to the high school, she felt nervous but is ready for a year of challenges that will help her grow.

“I was anxious because I wanted it to go well, but in the classroom when I came to the high school, it was like everything fit into place,” Wechtler said. “[Teaching is] where I’m meant to be.”