OHS’s Oldest Freshmen

Dominik Harper, Writer

We have eight new teachers this year, and we got information about them.

One of the teachers we got to sit down and talk with was Ms. Pate. When we asked her, “What made you start working at OHS?” She responded in a cheerful way; “Well, they hired me. But otherwise Olympia was the #1 school I wanted to work at.” We also came to learn that she was a chef beforehand, and student taught at River Ridge prior to coming to OHS for her first year of teaching. When asked what she wanted students to get out of her class she came with, “I want them to understand that reading and writing should work for you, and not against you. Being able to communicate will get you to where you want to go.” Which also matches her teaching style of discussions, and having students voice their opinion.

The next teacher we interviewed was Mr.Gant. One of the first questions I asked him was “What’s your experience in the teaching field?” After a moment’s thought, he replied “Well I taught two and a half years at a Juvenile Detention center, and two years in a school in Kansas.” When asked about his teaching style, he said that he uses traditional and alternative teaching styles. When asked to elaborate on his “alternative methods,” he told us “Mainly groups, collaborations, posters, hands on activities, and some kids even do problems on the whiteboard and have me review their answers for them.” Thinking about his more unusual past teaching experience, we wondered what he thought about OHS. “The parents are way more involved than in schools I’ve taught at in the past,” he replied, “and everyone here is more responsible with their work.” Hey! Nice job Oly!

Next, we hit up mild-mannered new English teacher Mr. Bach. When we asked about his teaching career, we realized he couldn’t have been too mild mannered as he was an instructor in the Marine Corp for two years! Ten-hut! Then he pulled double duty teaching AP English and Speech in both high school and college simultaneously. When asked about why he decided to teach at OHS, Bach expressed, “ It was a conscious decision for me to move here because of the climate, and I like the progressive personalities here in the city as a whole.” With that, he told us that he picked three schools in the area, and picked Olympia for the sole reason of our student body, our test scores, and friendly faculty. This Marine does his research! As to what Mr. Bach wants his students to get out of your class by the end of the year, he replied “I want my students to hold an appreciation and variety of understandings of the human nature through literature.”

Though a Marine who seeks OHS is impressive, we were more caught off guard by Mrs. Crites. When we walked in, we hadn’t known that she was deaf, and naturally we did not speak sign language, which is what she teaches. Technology to the rescue: We all typed into Word for our conversation with Crites. In this, we learned that prior to OHS, Crites was a part time ASL teacher at Pacific Lutheran University, SPSCC, and Pierce College. As to the one thing she wants students to get from her class, she wrote, “I want students to have fun learning the new language by signing with their hands. At the end of the year, I would like to see them able to communicate with deaf people in the community and with their own ASL teacher. Overall, this was our most interesting interview and we learned how important it is to grasp an understanding of sign language – because being a deaf student would have a much more difficult time understanding other languages taught here like Spanish and French.

Our last stop was Mr. Lewisohn’s room in the math hall. The first thing we saw were table groups set out with three people on each table and a loud and charismatic voice directing people. We sat down at his desk and first asked about his education, to which he replied he had, attended two universities, one of which being WSU. Go Cougs! Lew, as he calls himself, has also had 18 years of teaching experience prior to working here.

As to his teaching goals, Lewisohn said, “Tough question. I want them to feel they are pushed to their potential and to understand that math is a practical application in your life rather than just memorization of formulas, equations, etc.” Our last question for Mr. Lew was, “What kind of teaching style do you use?” His reply was, “I don’t use a single teaching style.” The explanation for this was that he is open to new ideas and is flexible enough to try things that meet his students’ needs. There are mostly class discussions. He seemed pleased with his thought and said he learns more from his students than he thought they would – and that they keep him young.