English department parts with tradition

Sean Simonson

Returning students may be shocked to hear of a change beyond imagination: Mr. Wallestad is teaching regular freshman English. More shockingly, he’s not the only teacher participating in the English Department’s attempts to shuffle things up; others are also dabbling in some new courses.

Many Benilde-St. Margret’s students may be stunned at seeing such drastic changes in the teacher assignments that they have grown used to, but the recent switches are just some of the more noticeable ones. Mrs. Maura Brew already switched to sophomore English last year, Ms. Änna Overbo started teaching film studies, and Mrs. Paula Leider changed to Advanced Composition.

All of the participating teachers like the change, according to department head, Mr. Jason Wallestad, and no complaints have been filed yet. The English teachers have been highly receptive, finding it to be a good direction towards helping the department grow, said Mr. Backen.

Mrs. Leider has taken change to the max, teaching a brand new class, Non-Fiction Writing. One of her favorite parts of teaching upperclassmen is being able to know what skills they need to have and being able to properly prepare the freshmen in the English 9 classes for that level of writing. “[But] it’s nice to keep things fresh,” Mrs. Leider said.

Ms. Anne Marie Dominguez loves teaching Honors English 10 again after not teaching it for 8 years. “I enjoy seeing the kids get it and growing from year to year,” she said. Teaching the class again has not been a huge shock, she said, but the class’s changes have been more of an evolution as there are now many new mediums to teach with.

Despite having to drop some of her favorite novels from Honors English 10, Ms. Koshiol finds teaching regular English 10 to be an exciting change. “Every year you miss past students, but every year is a new slate and so there’s no sort of regret or anything,” said Ms. Koshiol.

Mr. Backen, who teaches mostly upperclassmen, loves being able to teach sophomores and looks forward to teaching Lord of the Flies for the first time this year.

Mr. Wallestad couldn’t agree more about the benefits of teaching younger students, saying that they tend to be more fun and enthusiastic than the upperclassmen that his classes tend to be filled with. “[It is] good for any teacher to try other levels and new curricula,” said Mr. Wallestad.