Jennifer Cunningham teaches English in her class as sophomore Devon Brown listens intently. (by Nora Swearingen)
Seven teachers have joined the faculty this year.
New SSD teacher, Joyce Doyle, wanted to be a teacher since she was young. She said, “Despite the fact that since I was a little girl I had always ‘played school’ with my dolls and my friends, and I was forever tutoring peers after school, somehow I chose law as my initial career and became a paralegal, but I hated it.”
Doyle didn’t like working for people preferring to work with people. She went back to school for another degree and began teaching. What she loves most about her job is helping students “make connections while building their self-esteem.”
Doyle likes to make her classes very creative but still wants structure and critical thinking in her lessons. She tries to make the work relevant to students because she feels they learn better that way.
Doyle has taught numerous subjects, including social studies, language arts, the Wilson Language Program and math classes. She said she has never taught an art, music, or gym class because she’s just not the type of teacher, creatively or otherwise.
About what other job she would like to have instead of teaching—made up or otherwise—she answered, “I just love to travel, so sometimes I fantasize about being a travel writer, having my trips paid for, and having my reviews published, but not losing sight of the face that my true love is teaching, I’d probably find myself coming back home, incorporating my travels in a course and teaching anyway.”
Before starting at Webster, Patrick Bommarito worked as a volunteer in Guatemala. He became a Spanish teacher because he’s fallen in love with the culture and traditions and wants to share what he knows with students.
He was born in Kirkwood and lives there now.
Bommarito has not always been fluent in Spanish. He actually started taking Spanish classes his freshman year of high school, so he makes sure to tell his freshmen students that it is possible.
“The Spanish culture is the most different from American culture because of the sense of family. People in Spanish-speaking countries tend to have large, extended families; while In America we have retirement homes that we put the old people in, and some people who have very small families,” said Bommarito.
The best thing about Spanish culture is, in his opinion, the food. After thinking about it for a bit, Bommarito said the hospitality in Spanish-speaking countries is just great. He explained he’s lived in Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru-which have all been very hospitable. Bommarito said Webster is a great place to teach and he “really likes it here!”
If he could teach any other subject, he would most like to teach history. Bommarito said it goes along with Spanish-he loves learning about what has happened in the past and what is happening now.
Chad Weston is the new In-School Suspension teacher. He grew up in Brentwood and is currently finishing his degree at UMSL.
Last year was his first teaching year, before he was working in real estate for 12 years. Weston has always enjoyed working with students. He has worked as a substitute teacher in Webster and Kirkwood, and is the Women’ freshman basketball coach at Webster. He likes making a difference in students lives.
Weston said, “I’ve been working in business for 20 years, and I’d like to teach business in school and help show students what it’s like in the real world and help prepare them for life’s challenges.”
He loves working at Webster because he said it is a great community to work in with such a great staff.
Jade Roseberry was teaching English in Germany before starting work at Webster.
The main reason why she became a Spanish teacher is because she enjoys students and teaching various languages. She really got into the Spanish culture while she was studying it.
Roseberry was born in a small town called Pittsfield.
Roseberry has also not always been fluent in Spanish. She started studying the language her freshman year of high school as well.
“The Spanish culture is the most different from American culture because of people’s personalities. People just tend to be more open, tend to talk a lot and are just more involved in their communities. People in Spanish-speaking countries are just so warm to each other. It’s great,” Roseberry said.
About the best thing about the Spanish culture, Roseberry answered, “I love the diversity. It’s great how all these countries can be from different parts of the world, have different cultures, and different ideas, but can still come together and speak the same language.”
Roseberry loves it at Webster. If she could teach another language, she would most want to teach German. She knows German, has an affinity for it and the culture.
Jennifer Cunningham is a long-term sub for the English department.
Currently she is subbing for English teacher Sarah Gray and will sub for Sarah McGrath later this semester.
She has always wanted to be a teacher since she was little, and her mom was a preschool teacher, so she grew up with it.
Cunningham’s favorite thing about teaching English is that she loves to read, and in this subject she can discuss the books that she likes or dislikes. Cunningham encourages her students to form opinions in her class, which is really important to her. Cunningham likes to make learning fun for students, as much as she can while still having them learn.
About what job she would like to have instead of teaching—she would really like to be a book editor for JK Rowling. Cunningham loves the Harry Potter books, and her favorite one is The Prisoner of Azkaban because of her love for Sirius Black.
Amie Keane is one of the new academic lab teachers. About what made her want to be a teacher, Keane answered, “What made me want to start teaching was a professor I had in college. His class was the first in years that made me truly excited about being in school and learning.”
Her favorite thing about being an academic lab teacher is seeing students work hard to achieve their goals. If Keane could teach any other subject, it would be English. She has just earned her M.A.E in Secondary English Education. She encourages her students to use their time wisely while in her class.
Keane likes to make learning fun for students in the English classroom, while in academic lab she likes to be more focused and to the point. Keane would also like to be an English teacher, teaching creative writing or contemporary American literature or maybe an inventor.
Nedra Clark is one of the new communication arts teachers. She originally wanted to be a substitute teacher and a full time graduate student. After she spent more time in the classroom, she realized that she wanted to become a full time teacher.
If Clark could teach any other subject, it would be psychology. She loves to discuss theories behind how the mind works.
About what she loves most about teaching English, Clark said “I love that I can escape reality and become a character in any story I read. It’s like a free vacation.”
Clark really believes if students do well in high school, they do well in life. Clark tries to teach this to her students. She likes to bring real-world aspects to her classroom to make things connect more with students in a fun way.
If Clark could have any other job, she would want to be a meteorologist or a nurse anesthetist.